Follow along with this custom entryway bench build!
This was a fun and quick custom entryway bench build but really was sad to see leave the shop!
Follow along and as always, contact us to make your custom piece of furniture. We design and build everything here locally with all locally sourced materials. Whether you’re looking for a desk or a bookshelf or a custom built bed, we are your shop.
We were contacted by a client who just moved here and are in the process of bringing some needed upgrades to their home. Particularly regarding their furniture. They have had cheap and inexpensive pieces from a variety of stores but were wanting something that was built to last. Something with design and something that was specific to them. And yet flexible enough that the entry way bench would also fit in another home if they ever moved. And so we began the discussion process to find the best way to make this for them and stay within budget.
Design considerations for the entryway bench
One of the key factors in considering what type of wood to use for a custom entryway bench like this is the amount of use and wear. Some benches are more about filling space in a home while others are more for utility.
This bench was going to be for some little kids to be able to sit at and take their shoes off. The client wanted a shelf underneath the bench to be able to store baskets to catch shoes. What a great way to turn a bench into a functional piece of furniture!
The client also wanted something that felt a bit more modern. Almost industrial. So, we decided to make the legs out of steel for this custom entryway bench. But, we wanted to try out a method of blackening the steel that we had seen elsewhere. We were curious if it could be done and how well it really worked.
We worked from some initial designs and sketches to really get the specifications we were looking for.
Now, just a quick rant on poorly built furniture. A bench like this should be at least 16″ wide. Most custom entryway benches are built too shallow and will often tip. Not feel comfortable to use. And a whole hose of other issues. Not a big deal you might think- will 2″ really make or break a piece? The beautiful thing about well designed pieces is that they blend in with your home and are unnoticeable. They are a joy to use but they are out of the way. Like well designed sound- if you hear the sound thats because it wasn’t mixed well. When sound is done correctly, you wont notice it. It just blends in with your surroundings.
Alright, rant over… Until the next piece we replace…
So, once we had all the details figured out, we were off to the lumber yard to get our materials. We decided to go with a number 1 hickory. Hickory is incredibly hard and durable. And once it is paired with steel, it just makes for such an awesome piece!
Hickory can often be found on floors in high end custom homes. One other critical benefit to hickory is that it wont darken or dull with sunlight and age. It will continue to shine for years and years. It is also very stable, once acclimated.
We got to work on the steel legs- using 1 1/2″ tube steel. Plate steel helped us attach each leg to the top from the underside. We worked out the design for this custom entryway bench around 3 legs instead of just 2 on each end. It really was a solid choice because it made the piece really more of a custom build. We lost about 2 inches, overall, with this decision but in the end it was totally worth it.
In furniture design, odds often are more appealing to the senses than even numbers.
Getting materials from a locally sourced lumber mill is always a treat. But, once we bring it to our shop we have to allow it to acclimate. It will continue to move as we bring the hickory to a new environment so we need to allow the wood to do its thing. If we mill the materials to soon, it will fight us later on in the build. This acclimation process can take close to a week before we get to the materials.
Then its off to plane and edge everything! This is such a rewarding process because we are taking a raw material- often with no beauty- and as we slowly work the wood, the end look and feel begins to emerge.
We remove the bark and outer rough edges. We have to work with the grain and select the cuts that are going to look pleasing but also perform well.
Once the steel legs were done we began assembling the bench.
During the process, the client asked if we could add in a coat rack to match. Working with a custom furniture builder provides this type of flexibility!
We found some really sweet coat hooks from schoolhouse electric. We love to source materials from them because their items are made right here in the US. Many being manufactured and produced at their factory over in Portland, Oregon.
The hooks matched the blackened steel really well.
We applied a few coats of “human friendly” wood finish. The options are vast when it comes to applying the finish. This stage of any furniture build is more critical than any other part of the build because it can really make or break a piece.
This custom entryway bench wasn’t seeing any sun near the front door. Sunlight is usually our first filter for what type of finish to use. Sunlight can really ruin wood without the wrong type of finish. Most woods will dull in color and appearance with sunlight unless correct finishes are applied to help block UV rays.
The other filter we had was the type of use this custom entryway bench would be getting. We basically wanted a finish that would be durable, friendly for the kids using it, and fuss-free. In a home with a growing family, there is little time to be applying expensive cleaners and polishers to your furniture!
This type of finish is a hand rubbed hard wax. It goes on like a liquid but will harden to a hard wax. It penetrates the wood to really make for a durable and fuss free finish.
The edge detail around the bench turned out really great. This particular edge profile detail is a favorite of mine because it is so comfortable to interact with. And, it is very pleasing to the eye. It’s called a “Queen Ann” profile. It is super time consuming to cut because you have to offset the depths on opposite sides to create the offset detail. It takes quite a bit of time but is so worth the extra effort.
Our customer would never know the difference- right? Well, maybe. But we would! And thats just not why we are business. It’s up to us to make sure we provide all available expertise to our clients for them to decide and see whats possible.
This is a small part of each custom piece we make but can really make or break a piece. We often see a simple round-over done on these edges. Which will certainly work and serve its function. But why not get something beautiful AND functional?
Well, delivery day arrives!
Delivery of the custom bench!
We are always so sad to see a piece leave our shop. Thats how we know we have invested our heart and soul into a piece. This custom entryway bench was no exception. A bench like this serves a very simple purpose for the home but is no less detailed with our keen eyes.
There is always a point in every build where suddenly, out of nowhere this piece of furniture emerges from the sawdust. Its emails and client visits and numerous design sketches. Throwing ideas away. Back and forth we go until we are satisfied and the client is inspired by what they have hired us to make. We make so much sawdust for weeks and weeks. We assemble and dry fit the piece of furniture. There are often times parts of a build we still need to resolve before getting to the next step.
But then, one day, this beautiful piece emerges and we remember why it was all worth it. And then the reality sets in that we may never see this piece again. It will take on a new life in someones else’s home.
Thank you for following along with this wood entry bench build! Feel free to drop us a line or see how easy it can be to have a custom piece built for your home.
When you are ready to get your piece of custom furniture built- reach out to us HERE!