DIY Bed to Bench Project

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This turned out to be one of the most unique projects I’ve ever done. A customer wanted me to turn her husband’s forty year old childhood bed into a bench. I had no idea what she was talking about, but a little poking around on the web showed me that this is a fairly common thing. The approach will be idiosyncratic bed by bed, but you’ll find tips in this video that can help if you want to take on a similar project.

Assembly starts with disassembly

The first step was getting the bed apart. My goal was to make the bench with no new wood; completely recycle the old pieces. That meant being very careful as I took things apart. Tapping here, pulling there, paying careful attention to stress on the pieces so nothing bad would happen. Lots of patience, and it worked out ok.

Rebuilding

A common approach to the bed to bench idea is keeping the headboard intact, and turning the footboard into the two bench ends. I took that same approach. I was able to reuse a lot of the original mortise and tenon joinery, and used dominoes where I needed to create new joints.

Finishing

The customer wanted the finish refreshed, but not completely redone. Not knowing what the original finish was, dewaxed shellac was the key to this. It sticks to any finish, and any top coat will stick to dewaxed shellac. It’s the perfect between coats finish.

Projects, Projects and More Projects

What direction do you want to go next? WWGOA has lots of ideas available; more DIY projects than you can shake a stick at. I’d put bed to bench in the furniture making category. If you want to do more of that, be sure to check out the furniture making videos.

Discussion
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13 Responses to “DIY Bed to Bench Project”
  1. Paul Bucalo

    That is so cool, George. I’m tempted to look for a cast out on Craigslist to convert for our own use. Thanks.

    Reply
    • George Vondriska

      Thanks. I was skeptical about taking it on, but ended up enjoying the project a lot.

      Reply
    • George Vondriska

      Thanks. I was kinda nervous…messing with someone’s heirloom. I was happy with the result, and so were they (thankfully)

      Reply
  2. David

    Your experience and a good, solid-wood bed made for a beautiful end product. Really nice!

    Reply
    • George Vondriska

      Thanks. It was fun, once I got over being nervous about messing with their childhood bed.

      Reply
  3. Todd B

    Great work. I think it turned out better than ‘Okay’. What do you think about the idea of canting the back (previously the head board) back at a small angle by making the bottom rails on the sides slightly shorter than the top rails on the sides and cutting the back edge of the side panels at the matching angle? Naturally the cut angles on the rails would also have to match. But the bench might be just a little more comfortable.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hello Todd,

      An angled back isn’t a bad idea, but normal construction for that would be straight legs and only the back that you’re leaning against at an angle. In order to get an angled back on this project I would have had to angle the entire back piece. I think that would look weird from the side. In all honesty, now that I’ve set on the completed bench, it’s pretty comfortable as is.

      Thanks,

      George
      WoodWorkers Guild of America Video Membership

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      Reply
    • Customer Service

      Dear Liborio,

      Thank you for your patience. In regards to your question-

      There are lots of variables….pricing would depend on the condition of the original bed, what the customer wants as a final design, making the seat cushion, finishing requirements….

      Sincerely,

      George
      Woodworkers Guild of America Video Membership

      Reply

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