Alexia Bench for Auction

Alexia Bench for Auction

First, thank you for stopping by for our first blog post!  Find out more about how we got started with this crazy adventure on the About Us page.  Now on to the fun…

Back in the spring, we were asked for a donation to our youngest son’s school Silent Auction.  We love our school and community, so of course, we said yes immediately!  Next came the harder decision of what to donate…it needed to be something that would appeal to most anyone, be easily transportable home by the winner, and ideally showcase our work.  After looking through the pieces in the shop awaiting their makeovers, I decided it may be better to build something since most of the things I had were either too large or specific to a certain decorating style.

We love Ana White’s site for building plans because they are both stylish and easily customizable.  I set to work to find the perfect plan and quickly came upon the Alexia Bench.  It is a cute bench that would look great in an entry way, bedroom or even as a coffee table.  The two large drawers also provide great storage.

After reading through the plans, we headed off to the lumber store.  Since I was planning to paint the bench, we went with select pine for the build.  It is an economical option, easy to work with and readily available while providing a solid, quality piece of furniture.

 

Alexia Bench Lumber
Alexia Bench Lumber

Tip – Hardware stores will typically have 2 types of pine – select and common.  Select pine will have fewer defects (knots, resin pockets, etc.) and generally preferred for furniture over common pine.  In addition to selecting boards with fewest defects, you should also check to be sure boards are as straight as possible with out bowing or twisting.

 

Back home, we unloaded and began building.  The sides and back came together quickly. However, we soon discovered a mistake in the shopping list…the plan called for one 1×2 for the front facing and it was obvious we would need two.  Back to the hardware store we go.

Alexia Bench Back and Sides
Back and Sides

 

Once the front support pieces were in place, it was time to cut out the bottom trim piece.  The plan did not include a pattern for this so after studying the picture, I came up with a super technical creative way of getting a matching curve on both ends…a paint can.  (Hey…It was there within arms reach begging to be used.)  Using a jigsaw, hubby cut along my markings and it was attached with glue and pocket screws.  Perfect!

Drawing out the apron pattern.
Drawing out the apron pattern.
Cutting apron with jigsaw.
Cutting apron with jigsaw.

Drawers were built next and installed using 14” full-extension drawer glides.

Drawers installed
Drawers installed

 

Really starting to look like a bench now.

Time to build a top!  And another plan flaw…the plan had the top to be built out of three 1X6 boards held together with pocket screws.  After getting it built to plan measurements, I was not happy with the look.  It did not allow for an overhang in the front which I felt needed to be there and I wasn’t happy with the thickness of the boards.  Back to the hardware store! If you’re counting this is the third trip, so it is a good thing I really love the hardware store.

After looking through my options for a new top, I elected to go with a 1 ½” thick solid spruce top instead of the planks.  I felt this gave a weight to the top which looked more substantial.  We also decided not to add the back and side pieces to the top.  This allowed for it to be more easily used as a coffee table if the winner chooses.

Much better!

Top and drawer fronts added
Top and drawer fronts added

Time for the finishing!  I had always envisioned using General Finishes Antique White with light distressing to keep it as versatile as possible, but after seeing the new thicker top, I decided to stain the top instead of paint.

I applied wood conditioner to the top prior to staining with 2 coats of Jacobean stain.

Wood conditioner and first coat of stain
Wood conditioner and first coat of stain

Since I wanted the distressed areas under the Antique White to show through darker than raw wood, the body of the bench also got a quick coat of the stain.

Alexia Bench with Stain Undercoat
Stain Undercoat

Next the body got 2 coats of Antique White Milk Paint before distressing the edges with a sanding block.

Painted, distressed and ready for finishing
Painted, distressed and ready for finishing

The top was then attached and the entire bench was protected with 3 coats of General Finishes High Performance Top Coat in Satin.

Alexia Bench Finished

Inside of drawers painted in custom color for fun surprise
Inside of drawers painted in custom color for fun surprise

 

Now off to the auction block!