So, this is a project that took me a few years to accomplish, but now that it’s done, I have to ask myself why it took so long.
Yes, this is the banquette project Rhonda asked me for. Oh, don’t believe for a moment that this is fine handcrafted woodworking, but as far as a useful cabinetry project that adds to the living area, it’s dyanmite.
As I had mentioned before, the seating area of the piece is basically a large plywood box that’s glued and screwed together. I was using some nice birch plywood for it because it was smooth and it was also inexpesnive. Using my track saw, I was easily able to break down the sheet with minimal fuss, making smooth cuts right off the saw.
The lid was easy. I knew I wanted the back to be about 16 inches from the front of the seat, so it wouldn’t be too far back from the front. I doubled up the plywood for the seat and cut the back part of the seat free. This was attached to the top of the bench with screws and glue. I crosscut the front section in half, so you wouldn’t have lift one massive top to get into the goodies stored inside. A pair of loose pin hinges holds each section in place. The loose pin makes it easy to remove the bench lid if I have to do work on it…
Since I wasn’t going to put a handle on the lid, I took the time to rout a cove on the front lip of the lid, allowing room for fingers to get a purchase to open.
The backrest is made from five fins of plywood cut witha 5 degree slope from the seat to the top. They formed a frame for the back of the seat, allowing a comfortable angle for seating. Those fins were notched, glued and nailed to some scrap plywood strips to hold them steady and provide a place for me to screw the piece to the wall. I skinned the front with a sheet of 3/4″ plywood and capped the whole thing with a piece of 1 x 10 pine.
As far as a finish – I started with a coat of shellac based primer. Yes, I treated it exactly like the base of the Rude and Crude method I use.. .shellac, followed by a thorough sanding with 320 grit paper. The surface was like glass… Perfect for two coats of a latex enamel paint.
Now, we need to repaint the wall (it was due) and clean up our laminate floor. Rhonda said she would also take care of getting a cushion for the seat, making it a little more comfortable for those sitting there.
Now, to fill it with all the stuff we have to store!