This Bench has been a DIY in progress for 4 months, which is funny because it was supposed to be a fairly simple bench to make. I had these grand schemes of making/building everyone something super awesome for Christmas so I made sure that I started plently early to allow myself enough DIY time. I bought the wood and sanded it back in mid-November...pre-Chiberia, knowing that the first few stages of this bench would require an outdoor workspace. And, luckily, the top of the bench went pretty smoothly, but then we hit a snag during the home stretch--my idea of making hairpin legs turned out to be an epic fail. We worked on this guy up until the last minute, exhausting any and all possible options, which led to an awesome Christmas Eve morning running around Home Depot buying back up gifts.
Despite everything, we still wanted to finish the bench as a gift for my father-in-law, so our new timeframe was mid-March...and spoiler alert, we made it by the skin of our teeth. (Teeth have skin? Gross.)
The first step was getting the wood. I picked out a nice 2x12 that was 8 ft long which I had cut into two pieces (because last I checked, two is better than one). I got both boards home and immediately beat them up with some chains, a mallet, and some screws (which was super fun). Then I sanded the wood down to give it a slightly irregular, worn and smooth look.
Easy peasy so far. Next up came the stain. I decided to make a homemade concoction using black tea. Apparently tea brings out the tannins in the wood which give it a rustic look. I decided to apply the stain with 0000 steel wool that I soaked in a completely random mixture of distilled and cider vinegar for about an hour. Despite reading loads of tutorials on letting the steel wool marinate overnight, 1.) I didn't want the wood too dark and 2.) I'm incredibly impatient.
It took three coats of stain for the look I was going for and it smelled awful. Not the stain, but the steel wool. Seriously, it was really gross. But I knew the smell would fade eventually so I pressed onward.
Here's the wood top all finished with two coats of water-based satin polyurethane. I went back and forth on using a poly, but decided that since people would be sitting on this it was probably a good idea to seal it.
Ok, here we go. The legs parts. So my original plan was do to hairpin legs similar to the coffee table/bench we have in our living room. I probably spent 20 bucks on the rods that Kevin bent for me but they were too unstable. We both tried sitting on the bench and it was so comical we should have taken videos of the legs splaying out from underneath us. I guess it's funny now..it was not funny at the time, not on December 23, at 1:00am when we thought we are almost done with this and our plan took a nose-dive and left us in panic mode.
So, guess what, this Christmas present turned into a birthday present. We took a step back and ignored this guy for several months until we could come up with a better leg solution. I left it up to Kevin because he's got a better brain for stuff like that and he came up with an awesome design using a series of pipes (not to be confused with the internet, which is a series of tubes) that gave the bench a pretty sweet indrustrial look, but not in that overwhelming trendy sense.
I totally love how the bench turned out. It's the bomb.com. I definitely thought about keeping it...but then I remembered that I have that other piece of wood all stained, poly-ed, and ready to go...