It’s time for me to admit it, I am cheap. My reader/readers have probably realized this from my previous posts, but yesterday’s Alpina-Grill post may have thrown people off the trail. So I wanted to find a simple, DIY project that almost anyone can do, so I encountered the instruction to this bench made out a sheet of 1/2″ plywood and some Gorilla Glue.
Things you need:
1 Sheet plywood, between 1/2″ or 3/4″ inches thick. (Cabinet Grade is best, but anything above C/D is acceptable)
At Least 1 pair of clamps at least , more is better.
Glue (Gorilla Glue is suggested, but any wood glue will work)
Sander (Belt Sander is best)
Square (Drywall square works best)
I plan on making a heavier, thicker bench. My bench will be 48″L x 18″ H x 18″D made with a 2″ thick plywood strips. I may use a set of twin 1″ dowels to stabilize it if needed later.
The most difficult thing here is to decide what you want the layout to be. The layout I configured would be a using 3″ strips, but the design they used is using 1.75″ inch strips. Keep in mind I am planing on a sheet of 3/4″ cabinet grade, while the original design called for 1/2″. Using 3/4″ instead of 1/2″ means you can use 24 strips as opposed to 36 to make the depth. If you want to use 1/2″, you will want to make thinner strips.
The standard size for a sheet of plywood is 48″ x96″, which gives you about forty five 2″ x 48″ strips after you factor in the blade width (Usually 1/8″). Twenty four of these will be used for the sitting space. Begin gluing and clamping the seat together so it will dry as you cut the legs.
This surface can be cut down afterwards to make a smaller bench. There should be a sheet The remainder of the sheet should measure about 42″ x 48″. Continue cutting 2″ strips. This should be turned in forty-eight 2″ x 16″ strips (Twenty four for each “leg”). Glue and clamp these together.
Now you most likely want to wait at least a day or two before you sand these down. Un-dried glue can really do a number on a a sanding belt. You may want to consider sanding in a few stages with a few different grits, particularly if you use a lower grade plywood. I plan on moving from 60 grit up to 150 grit.
While the glue will seal it some, you want a sealing polyurethane. This is particularly important if you are going to use this bench outdoors. Any moisture, whether it is rain or a spilled drink, will really do a number on plywood, even “outdoor” grade plywood. I like a semi-gloss finish myself, but this is a matter of preference. In a modern setting, you may want to use a gloss or a satin finish.
It is also fairly simple to add padding if you like. For this you will just need a piece of 1/2″ wood the same size as your sitting area (In my case 18″ x 48″), some padding, about 2 yards of fabric and some staples. If you plan to do this, you may want to cut the legs to 15″ instead of 16″, just to compensate for the added piece of plywood and padding.