My son Jacob and his new bride had me modify a small room between their garage and the kitchen to make a mud room. This included adding kitchen cabinets, wainscoting, and wood trim.
They also wanted me to design and build 3 custom benches to fit into the mud room.
Here is the mud room design, with the wall nearest to you hidden so you can see the room design:
We bought the Wainscoting at Lowes. It is about 5/16" thick. I don't like gluing stuff to walls, so I added pine horizontal boards, to haves something to nail the Wainscoting too. I primed the boards with Zinsser's before I installed them. I did not want any unpainted areas to show up in the future due to expansion and contraction. After they were installed, I gave them a 2nd coat of Zinsser's, then a final coat of good white latex semi-gloss.
My son ended up making 3 trips to Lowes to get 4 good cabinets. All but one were damaged on the 1st trip. You could not see the damage when they were in the box at Lowes. The smartest approach would be to inspect them right after the check-out counter at lowes, and bring some duct tape to put the boxes back together after you remove the cabinets for inspection.
Mud Room Benches
They wanted 3 benches to be designed to fit against the 2 walls of the mud room.
I designed the benches in Google Sketchup. The left-hand bench has no lower shelf with slats because my son's big boots get stored under the bench. The other 2 benches have slats to store his wife's shoes.
Since the benches will be painted white, I could use lower cost pine to make the benches. My son said he would take care of getting custom seat cushions made for the benches.
Building the Benches
I made 6 bench end pieces first using 3/8" dowel construction (versus mortise and tenon). Then I built 4-sides boxes using Kreg pocket screws. I routed a 1/4" groove in the bottom of the 4 boards for 1/4" thick plywood bottoms.
Once the ends were glued, clamped up, and dried, I screwed the boxes to the ends.
In the above picture, the 2 black clamps are holding the end piece in position, while I screw the box to the end piece.
The lower slats are 3 inches wide and 3/8" thick. I also used the Kreg pocket screws to make a 4-sided box to hold the slats, then screwed the box to the end pieces. I routed a 3/8 wide by 3/8 deep groove in the 2 long pieces to hold the slats. I glued 3/8x3/8" spacer pieces in between each pair of slats.
Hinged Bench Lids
I decided to use 1/2" particle board for the hinged bench seats. It is strong enough for people to set on the bench and not excessively deform the seat. 1/4" thick plywood would not have been thick enough.
Because a 4x8 foot piece of 1/2" thick particle board is very heavy, I roughed sawed the bench seats pieces in my garage, versus hauling this sheet down the stairs to my basement workshop. I sawed them in the garage with my portable circular saw, and the cuts were not perfect.
I temporarily nailed on a piece of straight scrap wood as a fence guide, and made the pieces straight on my table saw. I used the miter guide to make all sides parallel also on the table saw.
I used my hand router to route out the hinge locations in the bench.
Here are the finished benches in my basement........
Doweling the legs of the bench to the 2 horizontal stiles saved a lot of time compared to setting up the mortise and tenon equipment. The Kreg pocket screw approach is also very fast for making the bench boxes. Most of the labor time on this project was painting!
If my son never finds time to get the custom seat cushions made, they are functional without them, and the routed rounded edges give them a good appearance also.
The hand router really worked well for mortising the hinges. I should use this on future projects also. I think the hand router is easier than using the electric router if you are only doing a few hinges.