Salvaged Bench

3 Materials
4 Days

There are many examples on Hometalk of benches made from headboards and footboards. I want to add another.

I received the headboard (from a twin, possibly a child's bed) and footboard (probably from a full size bed0 from a friend who knows I am into repurposing).

Starting materials.

The headboard had a bit of sculpture to it, being that it wasn't flat. It had a bow and upon sanding it revealed some inlay work. I decided the back of the bench would "bow-in".

Cutting the footboard into three sections yielded the arms and the front seat support. Therefore the front legs and the arms are actually upside down and connected with a mortise joint that was part of the original bed part. The seat side supports are pieces leftover from a previous project and fastened front and back with pocket screws, as are the arms to the back back and the front support to the front legs.

This is a very confusing paragraph. Feel free to ask for further clarification.

Rough assembly.

I added some two by two supports for the seat.

Seat supports added.

I don't have an in-process photo, but I used a remnant of a door (left over as part of an earlier project) as the seat.

I formed some filler pieces to cover the gaps between the seat and the bench frame and back. Then there was a lot of filling the pocket screw holes and the voids were the bed brackets had been. Bondo is my go to choice. I also rounded-over the caps on the front legs because originally they were the feet of the bed and flat. A coping saw, a rasp, and a lot of sanding did the job.

I reverted to my standard distressed finish. Prime with red (rusty metal) primer and then paint it with satin black paint. Almost always use oil based paint and sand between coats. One may or may not highlight some edges with 220 grit sandpaper exposing the red primer. Then I top coat everything with rub-on satin polyurethane, so everything has a consistent gloss.

I apologize for not having more detailed photos, but thanks for viewing.

Suggested materials:

  • Salvaged bed parts  (A friend)
  • Door section and side supports  (My inventory)
  • Finishing supplies which account for my cost estimate  (Menards)

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Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Zac Builds
    on Dec 19, 2018

    Looks great John! I've never thought to use bondo before on wood working project, do you have a secret other than patience for sanding it down afterwards?

    • John Biermacher
      on Dec 19, 2018

      Thanks for the compliment.

      I actually have a couple tips with Bondo and have seen other tutorials on HomeTalk. .

      1) It can be tinted if you want to repair something and try to use a natural finish (; and

      2) More to your question. Mix up a little extra and use it to keep track of how it is curing. When it is stiff, but not set, the excess can be scraped/carved away. This reduces sanding, Sometimes when you scrape you leave a pattern or remove too much, but it can be refilled either with typical wood filler or more bonds. On a painted piece this is never an issue. On a natural finished piece a slight contrast helps the repair blend in.

      Hope this makes sense. Best wishes for great holidays.

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