Still woozy from stain vapors…
Well.. “build one” is in the books. My farmhouse bench is finished! I have to say the plans were really simple to follow (bench plans). I finished the whole thing in about 4 hours, and that includes the staining. Of course, there were a few hiccups along the way – more on that later – but first I’ll start with what went right. Focus on the positive, right?
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Everything on the shopping list was really easy to find. I’m a Home Depot regular myself, but I rarely venture down into the far end of the store where the serious building materials and the serious builders live. You know, the “lumber” section. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very familiar and comfortable with the “moldings” aisle. I can tell quarter-round from shoe, chair rail from picture rail. But sheeting from sub-floor? MDF from Particle board? 15/32 from 7/32? Not quite. So I was a bit nervous about steering my rickety metal flat bed cart down into that neighborhood. But it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought. Everyone was very helpful, and my daughter and I picked out the “prettiest” stud quality 2 x 4’s, 1 x 3 furring strips, and pressure treated 1 x 2’s we could find and $20 later ..we were on our way.
After reading the comments from other DIYers on Ana’s site, I decided to take their advice and do all of the cutting first. That really was the way to go because it made assembly a snap. The cuts were all straight forward, but I did notice a little blip on Ana’s plan. She called for four 16 ½” 2 x 4’s for legs, but you really need eight. So I had to run out and grab another 2 x 4, but other than that, building the actual bench was super easy.
What I learned:
- Cut all of your boards to size first and LABEL them. This really helps assembly go fast.
- Check, check and re-check the diagram before screwing or drilling, I put one of my bench legs together backwards. It wasn’t hard to take apart and redo, but it did give me an extra hole I needed to patch up.
- Always pre-drill a pilot hole before screwing your boards together to avoid splitting. I skipped this step on one board, and let’s just say I won’t do that again.
- Clean-up any oozing wood glue right away before it dries on the wood because, even though wood stain stains everything: skin, hair, children, tile floors, wainscoting, pets (trust me I know from experience, more on that coming up). wood stain does not stain wood glue.
Now, to the aforementioned “hiccup” portion of the project. I really thought the staining process was going to be the easiest part. I was wrong. First off, let me say it seems quite obvious to me now that staining furniture in 5 degree weather is not the best plan. Why it didn’t seem so obvious at the time I’m not quite sure. Anyway, I lugged the bench up into my kitchen (better lighting) and decided I’d throw a quick coat of stain on that baby, and wham bam, I’d be done. What could go wrong?
Well first, anyone who has ever stained furniture knows the fumes are just awful, which is why you need to do it in a “well ventilated” area. Let me just say, cracking a window apparently does not qualify as “ventilated” at all. So, I thought, “I’ll just go as fast as I can and get this over with.” Well, in my haste and new vapor-induced wooziness, I wound up knocking over my entire can of stain. Sure, I had an old sheet down as a drop cloth, but stain is like water, and of course soaked right through that sheet in about a second. So, now I had a large black puddle in the middle of my white kitchen floor!
Luckily, I still had enough brain cells remaining to sop-up the mess with the sheet. Some heavy-duty cleanser got the remainder off before I had a nice Jacobean stained floor to go with my new Jacobean stained bench. In the end, I did have enough stain left to finish off the bench, as for the brain cells…
For all of Ana White's designer furniture plans visit her website at : ana-white.com