I know, I know, ANOTHER BENCH?! REALLY? Here’s the deal. We replaced the top of our pipe leg dining table, and our old bench was looking sad in comparison. It’s unfair to give one kid a present, and then stiff the other one. So Mr. Bench got an upgrade.
If you remember correctly, this is what the old bench (& table) looked like:
We salvaged the pipe stretcher from the old bench, and got to work making new legs & a top. We wanted something a bit more industrial looking. The old bench was fine, but a bit traditional. So we searched for inspiration and found this on Pinterest:
I loved the chunky legs and thought it had the perfect shape. So we set to building our own version with a pipe stretcher.
1 – 2×12 x 6′ piece of kiln dried pine (same as our table)
2 – pine 2×2’s @ 8′ for aprons
2 – pine 2×4’s @ 8′ for the legs (make sure these are square edged 2×4’s, not rounded ones like you use for framing)
4′ pre-cut piece of 3/4″ gas line pipe (threaded on both ends)
2 – 3/4″ pipe floor flanges
2 1/2″ pocket screws
1 – 2×12 at 68″ (bench top)
2 – 2×2 at 48 5/8″ (aprons)
10 – 2×4 at 16 1/2″ (legs) if you can, set yourself a jig on your saw to make sure all the pieces are cut exactly the same size
First up, glue 5 2×4’s together with wood glue and clamps making one great big 4×10, repeat with the other 5 2×4’s (if you don’t have enough clamps, do one leg, then let it dry for a day, unclamp and do the other leg.)
To make sure those legs aren’t gonna move, we also strengthened them with dowels (and a few screws). We liked the way the exposed dowels looked on Daniel & Adelle’s table, so we opted for that route. After the legs have dried, mark 3″ up from the bottom of the leg on one end and mark the center of the board. Then drill a 3/4″ hole with a spade bit about half way through your leg. Ideally it would go all the way through, but to do that nicely (without any tear out) and straight you really need a drill press (which we dont have!). So we opted to do a dowel from each end.
After your hole is drilled, cut a piece of dowel a bit longer than your hole, glue & tap in place. Repeat for all the other sides of both legs and let dry.
To strengthen the top of the legs we used a 3″ counter sunk screw from either end. We pre-drilled the holes with a 3/8″ drill bit, inserted the screws, then filled the hole with a wood plug & some glue. If you must use screws on a project, using wood plugs will make them a lot less glaringly obvious.
Once all the glue has dried (another day) you can cut the dowels close to flush using a coping saw, chisel, hand saw, Dremel, or oscillating multi-tool.
Now it is time to make a few pocket holes for attaching the legs to the top. We put three holes in each leg (kreg pocket hole jig set to 1 1/2″ thick material).
Time to sand. I always find that it is MUCH easier to sand pieces like legs before installing them. As we needed to sand down the exposed dowels, we started sanding with 80 grit until the dowels were flush, then switched to 100, then 150 and finally 220 grit.
The apron pieces got 2 pocket holes drilled in each end (to attach to the legs) and a good sand as well.
Next up, attach the flanges to either end of the pipe and attach the pipe stretcher to the legs with screws. We used a scrap 2×4 to set the flanges up from the bottom of the legs.
Next up, attaching the legs to the table and the aprons. Flip the bench top upside down and use it as a work table to attach the aprons. The aprons will give the bench even more strength, and stop it from wanting to shift sideways. Once the aprons are attached to the legs, center the legs on the bench top, and attach the legs with the pocket holes you drilled earlier.
Put in a few 2 1/2″ screws through the aprons into the top, and fill the Kreg holes with pocket hole wood plugs and glue.
Time to head back outside, give the top a sand, and an overall finish sand to the rest of the bench.
A coat of wood conditioner, two coats of Varathane Chocolate stain, and three coats of polyurethane later and this is what we’ve got. (check out my post on finishing wood here.)
Materials & Cut List:
(see above) – Wood from Downtown Lumber
Stain – Varathane Chocolate
Polyurethane – Minwax Oil Modified in Satin
We are hosting my family’s Christmas at our house this year. We currently have a 4 person dining table. No way could we all perch around that table no matter how many chairs we pushed against it. We needed to scrap the kids table, and nut up and get a grown up table.
We put pen to paper and designed a simple tabletop with industrial black pipe legs. I had taken inspiration from this Restoration Hardware Flatiron table. Except we went with a basic “H” leg construction with a cross beam near the bottom of the legs.
We had originally wanted a nice thick reclaimed wood top, and had sourced a supplier, however that fell through and everything else we could lay our hands on was “city priced” (you know when you go to an antique store in the city and a simple item is priced 10 times higher that you ‘d find it at a flea market in the country? That’s “City Priced”.) So the cheap ass me wasn’t gonna pay city price for wood, so I nixed that idea and instead we decided to use 2×12″ construction lumber. We don’t have much invested in the tabletop, so if we get our hands on some nice reclaimed wood in the future, it won’t hurt our pocketbooks to swap it out. The legs are hardware store “black pipe” gas line pipe and fittings. These can be sourced at any large hardware store (orange & blue) and as they can cut and thread the pipe for you at the store, its super easy to work with.
We made a 72″ x 34.5″ table that is 30″ high. This is a standard 6 person table, but 8 can easily be squeezed around it.
1 – 3/4″x10′ black pipe $18.99
1 – 3/4″x6′ black pipe $13.80
4 – 3/4″x6″ nipple (heehee) $1.64/each
8 – 3/4″ Floor Flange $3.99/each
6 – 3/4″ Tee $1.64/each
1pkg 3″ felt furniture pads $4
2 – 2x12x12 spruce $17.50/each
Wood finishing materials (to be discussed in pt. 2)
Wood Cut list
3 – 2x12x6′
(Cut 2x12x12’s in half to make 4 – 6′ long pieces, and you can use the left over piece to make a bench.)
Pipe Cut list
The hardware store will cut and thread your pipe for you. There is a (substantial) fee for this. At our home depot it was $1 per cut and $2 per thread. We ended up having about $40 in cutting fees, which was actually more expensive that the pipe itself, but a necessary evil.)
1 – 3/4″ pipe 51″ long
4 – 3/4″ pipe 20″ long
4 – 3/4″ pipe 10″ long
We got our pipe and wood cut, gathered all the rest of our supplies and like a strange hardware store parade, headed to the checkout. A word to the wise, the pipe is greasy and dirty and yucky. Make sure you put your nice wood on a separate cart, and bring a tarp to protect your car. Also have some dish soap and goo gone ready at home to thoroughly clean and de-sticker your pipe when you get it back. Be prepared to get little metal splinters that will hurt. A lot.
We decided to use the Kreg Jig for attaching our boards together to make the tabletop. This is quick and oh so very easy, and all the screws are under the table where no one other than the dog or a crawling child will ever see them. We laid out our three best boards on saw horses in the garage.
We decided on placement making sure to alternate the crown of the wood (the crown is the way the grain curves, look at the end of a piece of lumber and you’ll see the grain pattern). Once we were happy with how our board would be arranged, we flipped them over and aligned them, making sure they were square. Our saw guy at the local hardware store didn’t fare so well with making all the boards the same length, so we lined up one end, and let the other end overhang knowing we’d trim it down later. Then we marked our kreg jig screw placements.
We put two screws in 8″ from the edge of the boards, and about every foot for the rest of the table. We alternated which side the screws came from so that we would get a more stable and solid tabletop.
The Kreg Jig is super easy to use. We set the jig and drill bit to 1.5″ thick wood, clamped out the jig (with protection on the “good side” so the clamp wouldn’t mar the table top) and drilled. Easy-peasy lemon-squeezey.
After all the holes were drilled, we re-aligned everything, and got to screwin!
After the tabletop was screwed together we trimmed off the scraggily cut edges using a circular saw. Then we gave the table a good sand with the palm sander. We wanted to leave a few of the rough wood’s imperfections, but ensure everything was nice and smooth.
After it had been sanded, we took it inside and got working on the legs. We thoroughly cleaned the pipes using a combination of citrus grease cutting cleaner, dish soap and goo gone. There was a lot of errant stickers and tape on the pipes along with the grease, so all these tools were needed. Be careful for any sharp metal or burrs, definitely wear protective gloves and eye protection.
To start out, attach each the 6″ pieces of pipe to flange. Next up attach a T to each of the 6″ pipes.
Screw a 10″ pipe into the side of each T. Attach another T to 2 of the 10″ pipes. Attach two legs together by the middle T, then do the same to the other set.
Now attach the 20″ pipe to the top of the T’s and another flange while the dog enjoys a peanut butter filled bone.
Make sure all your legs are exactly the same height. You may need to tighten or loosen a few joints to get everything equal.
Here’s the tricky part. Grab a friend and attach the long 51″ piece to the two open T’s. One of you will have to spin a set of legs around to get this done. You will look like an absolute fool doing this, but its the only way to get it done. Once everything is screwed together, you’re ready to attach your legs to the table.
Flip your tabletop over, and set the legs on top. Make sure everything is square, straight and level, and screw in your flanges using 1″ screws.
Apply your felt furniture pads to the bottom of the feet flanges, and flip your table back over. Now you’re ready for finishing! (we will be finishing the table inside due to the cold cold cold temperatures of our unheated garage.)
So here it with its legs attached and waiting for its finish work. Whatcha think?
One great thing we quickly found about this table is that if you have an uneven floor like we do you can unscrew certain parts to even the table out so it won’t wobble!
Promise, we’ll be back soon with how we finished the table, and a cost breakdown.