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  • Writer's picturePaige Latham Didora

[craft & craft] to build a bench

[craft & craft] is BRAND NEW segment featuring a crafty project – with a craft beer pairing of course! Look forward to a variety of projects from lumber to thread.

vanity furniture beer

Part of the reason I love craft beer is the authentic artisan technique involved. I love learning not just about beer, but about how it is made and the people behind it. For instance, did you know that the brewers at Hofstettner Granit Bock in Austria drop nearly-molten chunks of granite into the beer after the lauter and before pitching the yeast?? It creates little pockets of caramelization that taste fantastic. That’s amazing!

For many years I have been an avid crafter, cook, and all-around (husbandless) housewife. This sudden confession will either shock you or come as no surprise, depending on how well you know me.

One of my first major furniture projects was – in case you missed it – an old vanity that I refinished which now holds my beer collection [right].

In a recent gust of craftiness, I decided to build my own bench for my new dining table. It needed to be very sturdy, industrial but cozy, and in the right color family. My table has variation in color and a very small amount of distressing on the surface. After viewing this tutorial, I was absolutely SOLD on attempting a bench out of fence posts.

I won’t bog you down with the nitty gritty (check out the tutorial link for the step-by-step guide), but I’ll give you an overview of the project construction and requisite drinking.

bench materials

I needed 4 4×4 fence posts, hardware, stain, and danish oil. I got talked into going to Menard’s over Home Depot or Lowe’s against my better judgement. I found everything I needed, but it was not easy, and I was totally on my own in that giant store. There were a few lumber choices – treated cedar, unfinished cedar, and “white wood”. I went with white wood because I thought it would take up the stain less evenly and create a more interesting look.

Lumber on car

The total spent on materials was less than $70. Some kayak straps and heavy lifting, and I was off!

Luckily, my dad has a table saw or this project really would not have been feasible. We cut the posts to the exact length of my kitchen table – one of the most rewarding things about making furniture is that it is custom.

Crispin Georgia

It sounds like a lot of flavors – maybe too many – but they all absolutely come together, and much credit can likely be given to the Bourbon barrels.

After being refreshed, it was time to beat up the bench. Now, normally, I think putting in a ton of effort to make something look unfinished or create patina is silly. But in this case it had to be done to help with matching the bench to the table. Also, I had a really rough day so I was in the mood to beat something up.

beat up the bench

crispin and lumber

To join the pieces together I used metal “straps” and lag screws. My dad and I tried to press each post together while screwing them together in order to keep them tight. The next step was to stain the bench.

So, I may have made things too complicated, but I wanted to created uneven colors. In order to make an attempt, I took a complete shot in the dark and bought two different gel stains by Minwax, one slightly more red than the other. I chose the gel type because it does NOT seal the wood. In addition I used Watco Danish Oil, as the plans suggested. It isn’t really oil at all but a different type of stain and sealant.

final coat bench

The result after much patience and several coats is at right. I was so instantly happy with it and I couldn’t wait to introduce it to my dining room table.

Certain parts of the wood took up the stain differently at the result was great!

Fast forward about two weeks: I had to order legs from a company in Wisconsin via Etsy. While I was waiting, my dad took a fine steel wool to the surface to rid a small amount of the sheen.

When the legs arrived they were absolutely perfect and attaching them to the bench wasn’t too hard (after we made the holes a bit bigger).

Attaching legs

The Stiegl Radler is such an excellent example of a radler with fresh grapefruit and gentle malted barley with only 2.5% ABV. It is perfect for an afternoon project on a beautiful day!


Zeke bench

The legs went on and the final step was to sit on the thing! Our dog Zeke who we got while I was in high school and now lives with my parents was the first to try the thing out.

Pictured below is the bench next to the table…a darn good match if I do say so myself!

table and bench

Stay tuned for more [craft & craft] and if you have a project and beer (or cider, wine, root beer) pairing, I would love to hear about it!



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