- Ideas & How-Tos
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Turn stock cabinets and MDF into a stylish bench suitable for under a window, at the end of a bed, or in an entryway.
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This bench is a versatile piece. Customize it for a smaller space by using just one cabinet, or use three cabinets for a long entryway bench. Provide your own touches with different paint, door pulls, or even different cabinets.
Remove the doors from the two wall cabinets in preparation for screwing the cabinet boxes together. At the cabinet front, the face frames touch, but at the back, the sides are set back from the face frame by 1/4 inch on each cabinet. To join the cabinets so they are straight, cut two 1/2-inch-thick center spacers (A). Use a small amount of construction adhesive to hold the center spacers in position; clamp the cabinets together, and then secure with screws (Project Diagram, Cutting List and Drawing 1).
Measure the length and height of the cabinets, and cut the MDF ends (C) and top and bottom (D) to size. Note: All of the parts are 16 inches wide. The ends match the height of the cabinets, and the top and bottom are 2 inches longer than the assembled cabinets (Project Diagram, Drawing 2). Sand the parts with 150-grit sandpaper.
The ends of the cabinet assembly have an offset like the one between the two cabinets. Glue and clamp the 1/4-inch-thick end spacers (B) to the cabinet ends. Use construction adhesive to attach the ends (C). Set an end piece in position so it overhangs the front of the cabinet by 1 inch. Draw a line on the panel to help when aligning the parts. Clamp the glued panels for an hour to let the adhesive set.
Drill five holes in the bottom (D) to receive the feet (Project Diagram, Drawing 1). Add construction adhesive to the bottom of the cabinet assembly and set the bottom (D) in position. The panel should extend 1 inch from each end and front of the cabinets. Let the adhesive dry for at least an hour. To speed up the process, you can use a couple of flathead screws to secure the bottom to the cabinet as the adhesive dries.
Sand the bun feet (E). Apply construction adhesive to the top of the feet and into the drilled holes on the bottom. Place the feet so they are square to the edges of the bottom panel. The center foot helps support the long length of the bench so that it does not sag in the middle.
Complete the project assembly by securing the top (D) to the cabinets with construction adhesive. Allow the adhesive to dry, and then mask off the front of the stock cabinets to prepare for painting.
Make sizing by mixing 1 part wood glue with 1 part water. Apply it to the cut edges of the MDF using a disposable foam brush. Sizing seals the pores and makes the paint flow better over the edges. After the sizing dries, sand the treated surfaces.
Apply primer and two coats of paint (Sand Storm shown) following the manufacturer’s instructions. Re-attach the cabinet doors. Finish by adding cabinet pulls to the doors. Estimated cost: $319 plus the paint of your choice.