Step 1: Build and Install the Seat Box

installing the pre-built seat box
Photo: Wendell T. Webber
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The bench seat starts with an open-bottom plywood box. To make the four sides of the box, rip two 16-inch strips from a sheet of 3/4-inch plywood using a circular saw. Cut the strips into panels: two at 69½ inches and two at 15½ inches.

If you have a baseboard, measure its height, then rip that amount off one of the longer pieces. This strip becomes the back of the box, shortened so that it can rest above the baseboard.

Assemble the box—side panels between the front and back panels—using glue and 1 5/8-inch deck screws.

Place the box in front of the baseboard. Mark where the sides of the box meet the molding. Remove the box, and, using a reciprocating saw, cut the baseboard 3/4 inch on either side of each mark to make 1½-inch notches that fit the sides of the box with the molding applied to it.

Find the studs in the wall and mark their location. Guided by a level, extend the marks 7 feet up the wall.

Slide the box into place. Position it so that the sides fit into the notches. Shim the box to level it if necessary. Screw the box to the wall at the studs with 2½-inch deck screws.
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    Tools List

    • circular saw
      Circular saw
    • reciprocating saw
      Reciprocating saw
    • miter saw
      Miter saw
    • studfinder
      Stud finder
    • two-foot level
      Level
    • drill
      Drill/driver
    • hammer with nailset
      Hammer and nailset

    Shopping List

    1. 3/4-inch birch-veneer plywood to build the seat box. Get one 4x8 sheet.

    2. exterior-grade beadboard plywood to make the back panel on the wall. One 4x8 sheet will cover the area.

    3. 1x16 solid-wood panel to make the seat lid. Get one 6-foot board.

    4. 1x12 solid-wood panel to make the fascia board and shelf. Get two 6-foot boards.

    5. 2x4 to create a support strip for the hinges that hold the box lid. Get 6 feet.

    6. 1x4 to create the applied paneling on the front and sides of the box. Get four 8-foot boards.

    7. 1x2 to cap the unfinished top edges of the bench box. Get 10 feet.

    8. 3/8x7/8-inch panel molding to add a picture-frame detail to the paneling on the box and to trim above and below the beadboard panel. Get five 8-foot lengths.

    9. ½x1-inch parting bead to finish the edges of the beadboard plywood.

    10. 3/4-inch quarter-round molding to trim the beadboard panel and the base of the box. Get 16 feet.11. ½x7/8-inch decorative shoe molding to trim out the shelf, seat lid, and fascia. Get three 8-foot lengths.

    12. 9-inch shelf brackets

    13. 2-inch L-brackets to secure the box to the floor. Get seven.

    14. European cabinet hinges to allow the lid to overlay the box and open smoothly. Choose ones that are labeled "for frameless cabinets." Get three.

    15. Toy-box lid supports to keep the lid from slamming shut. Get two to support the weight of the lid.

    16. 1 5/8-inch deck screws

    17. 3½-inch deck screws

    18. 2½-inch deck screws

    19. 2-inch trim-head screws

    20. 2d finish nails

    21. 3d finish nails

    22. carpenter's glue

    23. vinyl adhesive caulk

    24. 180-grit sandpaper

    25. shims