How to Build a Mid-Century Modern Storage Bench
Embrace Mid-Century Modern style with this fully-functional storage bench. This project was part of a larger entryway makeover project consisting of a Mid-Century Modern coat rack and shelf.
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IntroductionThis project is a functional take on popular Mid-Century Modern furniture.
- Basic carpentry tools
- Cordless drill
- Dowel jig
- Miter saw
- palm sander
- Pocket hole jig
- Table saw
- 1-1/4" pocket screws
- 1" pocket screws
- 1/4" plywood drawer bottom
- 4" drawer stock
- 4/4 cherry
- 6/4 cherry
- Bench seat
- dovetail drawer slides
- steel bench legs
The Entry Bench:
Overall dimensions: 55-in. wide x 17-in. deep x 29-1/2-in. high.
Project step-by-step (13)
Make The Bench Top
- The bench seat is made of 6/4 cherry.
- Glue the two halves of the bench seat together using hide glue. I used a few dowels to help keep the two halves aligned during glue-up.
- After the glue dries, sand the joint smooth and finish the bench seat before moving on to the next steps.
- I used General Finishes Satin Gel Topcoat. This along with the natural characteristic of cherry will create a beautiful, deep patina in a few years.
Attach The Legs
- I found steel legs in the style I was after at tablelegs.com, so I decided to save time and buy.
- Screw the legs to the bottom side of the bench with 1-in. washer-head screws.
- Pro tip: I made a positioning jig out of scrap 1/2-in. plywood. This easy-to-make jig will ensure precise spacing and alignment of all four legs.
Cut Skirts To Size And Attach
- Use a bevel gauge to determine the angle of the leg, then transfer that to your table saw blade.
- Cut that bevel on one edge of a little more than two feet of the skirt material. With the legs attached, mark the two end pieces against the legs and cut them to length.
- Once those have been screwed into place, set the longer skirt pieces up against them and mark for cuts.
- Cut them on the miter saw and attach them with pocket screws.
Make The Drawer Case
- The cabinet case will be made from solid 4/4 cherry and feature mitered corners. Make the 45-degree cuts using a table saw.
- To glue these parts together, lay them flat with the insides facing down and tape the edges together. Burnish the tape with a piece of wood.
- Flip everything over. Apply glue to the joint and tape the two sides together, keeping them square.
- Pro tip: Drill your pocket holes before glue-up. As you can see in the photo, I forgot to do this...
- Apply a coat of finish to this part now.
Fit The Drawer Case Back
- Once the drawer case is glued together, take an exact measurement and cut the back to fit.
- Use a few clamps to hold it in place and secure it with 1-1/4-in. pocket screws.
Attach The Case to the Bench Top
- The drawer case should be offset 1/2-in. from the side and front of the bench. Use a clamp to help keep it in place while you drive the screws in.
- Start with the outer side first, attaching it to the bench top with 1-1/4-in. pocket screws.
- Double-check for square and then repeat that process for the inner side.
Assemble the Cross Member
- Assemble the cross member with a little glue. Then screw the dovetail drawer slide to the top side, perfectly centered.
- Pro tip: I cut the cross member parts a little oversize, then cut them to fit once the case was assembled and installed.
Complete The Case
- Install the lower dovetail drawer slide for the lower drawer.
- Cut the cross member to fit and attach it with 1-1/4-in. pocket screws. I used a 5-5/16-in. spacer block to help me position it perfectly.
Make The Drawers
- Cut the drawer stock to length and cut the bottom from 1/4-in. plywood. I used cherry veneer plywood to match the bench.
- Assemble the drawers using 1-in. pocket screws.
- Notch a space in the drawer back for the center-mounted drawer slide. Using a small square, make sure the slide is square to the box, then glue it in place.
- Pro tip: Premade drawer stock saves a lot of time — it’s preslotted for the drawer bottom and comes prefinished. Woodcraft sells 60-in. lengths for $16.
Attach The Drawer Faces
- I used wood spacers to help me achieve a 1/8-in. reveal around the drawer faces.
- With the drawer box inserted, place a few dabs of hot melt adhesive on the back of the face, then press it against the drawer box.
- After the glue sets, secure the drawer face with 1-in. washer-head screws through the drawer box.
Install the Drawer Pulls
- Center and mark the holes for the drawer-pull mounting screws on the drawer face.
- Using a 5/16-in. drill bit, drill completely through the drawer face and drawer box. Mount the drawer pulls with the supplied mounting screws.
- Pro tip: Make your marks on a piece of tape on the drawer face. Your marks will be easier to see, and you’ll protect the wood while it’s being drilled.
Cutting Diagrams and Templates
Overall dimensions of each board: 4/4 x 8-in. wide x 72-in. long.