Kids Country Bench

Submitted by iwn2000 on Wed, 04/22/2015 - 12:34

We wanted a bench for our daughter for our front porch, both for sitting and for storage of her rain boots, outdoor toys, etc. I'm definitely a beginner woodworker so I wanted something easy I could tackle in a couple of days with only basic tools, so I chose the Kids' Country Bench project. I liked the version posted here by a user named Jenny Anne, who modified the bench to make three cubbies rather than two on the bottom shelf, so I did the same thing.

It was easy, and the bench turned out great! I used no power tools except for a cordless drill to do the 40+ pilot holes & woodscrews. I don't own a jigsaw and I want to learn hand tools anyway, so I used a coping saw (a kind of miniature hacksaw) to do the curved cuts on the trim & the legs, and used heavy-grit sandpaper to smooth out the wobbles (there were a lot of wobbles).

For the rest of the cuts I used a Japanese-style pull saw (a cheap one from Ace Hardware). Cutting all the boards to length with a handsaw was probably the hardest part, and I had a tough time truing the edges. Next time I would probably use a miter box and miter saw to get perfect 90-degree angles, but I got better as I went along, and was able to finish the edges pretty well with a wood file and sandpaper.

I wanted to stain it a deep red color, but my better half insisted on a clear stain, so I used clear Polycrylic, four coats on the top & outsides, and three coats on the inner & undersides.

The bench feels pretty sturdy and is definitely strong enough to take my 3-year-old's weight. The trim on the front and back acts as a brace, so it's got some structural integrity. I don't know that I would trust it to hold an adult's full weight for very long -- I probably won't be dancing on it or using it as a stepstool or anything, but for a kid's bench it's solid and level.

The whole build probably took me four sessions in my "workshop" (i.e. my basement), at probably 2-3 hours per session. With woodworking it's definitely true that you learn by doing -- I gained confidence as I went along and am excited to try some more advanced projects!


Built from Plan(s)
Estimated Cost
About $150 total, but that included some tools I needed for my workshop. It would have been much cheaper for just the lumber and glue.
Estimated Time Investment
Weekend Project (10-20 Hours)
Finish Used
Clear Polycrylic, applied with synthetic-bristle brushes (brushes can be cleaned with soap and water between uses). Four coats on outer faces, three coats on inner and under sides. Two hours' drying time between coats, 24 hours' drying time after final coat before use.
Recommended Skill Level
Starter Project