This bench was actually just a test as I tweaked the idea a bit before I attempted my poke at the table and it turned out pretty well, so here we go...
Time: 1 hour for assembly / 1 day for staining
Cost: $30-$50 depending on the quality of the wood
Hammer / Finish Nailer
Saw / Miter Saw
Countersink Bit (not needed if you have a Kreg)
2" wood screws / finishing nails
Stain / Paint
Kreg Jig (Optional but recommended)
(10) 1x4x6' long Select Pine or better (Oak, Poplar, etc)
120 grit sandpaper
I decided on about a 60" bench, typical height for informal seating is about 18". So this allowed me to get both a seating beam and a leg section out of each 1x4.
Cut 8 of the 1x4's at 57-1/2", leaving about 14" which is perfect for our legs as they will touch up against another piece of wood, equaling about 18" total. I did a dry build of the entire bench to see which pieces went best together.
Place one of the short sections (leg) perpendicular to a large section and measure. Mine turned out to be 18-5/8", you will need 4 pieces that length to serve as leg reinforcement.
and then place another beam across...
You should be left with a few scrap pieces of wood at this point. We're now going to create our spacers which is going to make the slots and really add to the look. A 4" piece of wood is actually 3-1/2" inches so were going to create some squares that size. You will need 10 spacers 3-1/2" by 3-1/2"
Place spacers on both ends and then a beam and then spacers and then a beam, until you are out of spacers. Check each piece as you go along for splintered edges and keep the cleanest edges on the outsides, as they will be visible. You will sand the biggest offenders later so dont worry too much, and DONT ATTACH ANYTHING YET!
On top of the 2nd to last beam you will add another long leg reinforcement piece, then the last beam and then the last leg. It will become difficult to hold this by yourself so make sure you have a helper.
You should end up with this...
I jotted small numbers on the pieces just to remember their order. Now that you have a good preview, lets disassemble and get ready to do some sanding and staining. Specifically we need to sand rough edges and then stain the pieces and sides that will be the interior of the slots which will be impossible to get to later.
There are a couple of pieces that we can pre-assemble, as they will remain as a solid piece and this is the easiest time to take care of that.
First, lets assemble the outer sides...For those who have a Kreg Jig this is where we will be able to hide a couple of screws so they will not be visible from the outside of the bench. If you do not have the Kreg you can simply drill a couple of countersunk (head is below the surface) holes to hide your screws and then cover them with wood filler.
After the leg and seat support have been attached, the reinforcement leg gets glued and nailed
Now we need to paint the sides of the remaining seat supports because these will be unaccessible once assembled. You can leave a few inches on each end unpainted as they will be covered up by our spacer blocks.
On the spacer blocks, you also need to paint one of the rough edges, as that edge will also not be accessible once assembled.
Once everything is dry, you can begin to stack, nail, paint...repeat.
This pic shows the first main leg with reinforcement attached and painted.
The first item to be stacked is a long seat support, check your edges and alignments EVERY TIME!
And then a spacer, check your edges and alignments EVERY TIME
Make sure you face the painted side of the spacer towards the INSIDE of the bench.
Keep stacking and painting
For stability measure and attach a horizontal support on each side.
Paint the remaining edges
This idea was also tranformed into a matching console/sofa table which is exactly the same plans just with 30" legs and 33.5" reinforcement legs...and here it is...as well as a peek at some updated basement :)