An extra long bench along the wall in the living room was in my design plans from the beginning. I wanted to visually balance the 16-feet-tall section of the wall that was covered with pallet wood. On a practical side, an extra surface for the table lamp and other things I wanted to display in the living room was also welcome. Now, you can probably find a ton of gorgeous benches on the Internet of all sorts of styles and materials. I searched and did find many I liked. There was one problem, however. I couldn’t find any bench that would be 12 feet in length. And that was what I needed.
So I searched the Internet for ideas on do it yourself benches and finally came across this site http://diohomeimprovements.com/blog/2013/06/02/plumbers-pipe-bench/. The blog had very detailed instructions on how to make a plumbers pipe bench. I thought it was great and just what needed! I don’t know why they call it a plumbers pipe bench, it is actually made of iron gas pipes. Anyway, metal pipes would not only look industrial and provide an eclectic punch to the overall living room design, but also lend a sturdy frame for my super-long bench.
The process of making a plumbers pipe bench
I followed the design from the site above but with my own measurements and modifications. One modification was that I used two additional legs in the middle of the bench. This was a must for such a long bench. Another important modification I made was using pipes to support the top. I didn’t want a top made with wood boards but rather with something sleek and modern-looking. I felt it would be too noisy with the pallet wood panel towering above the bench with wooden slats. So I decided to make the top from upcycled cork flooring boards. I had a few of them in a nice chocolate color collecting dust in the basement and waiting for their duty call. One thing about cork flooring is that it is very flexible and needs a rigid backing. I could have used plywood, but I generally hate plywood because it warps. It is also expensive. Finally, it’s a pain to transport and handle a 4 ft x 8 ft plywood sheet. Hassle, that’s what it is. So I bought 4 extra pipes to support the top and three 2 x 4 x 5/8 OSBs to serve a a substrate for the cork boards. And a couple of spray paint cans in a nice bronze color to paint the frame.
This is how the top is fixed to the frame:
- OSB rests on top of long planks (2×4 can be used, but I had long non-standard boards as leftovers from Ikea storage installation – upcycling again, baby!!! I needed those long boards so there was something to which I could fasten my bench’s side trim.
- Long boards rest on top of short planks spaced about 2 feet apart which are laid across and are supported by the pipes.
- Pipes are fastened to the short planks by pipe brackets.
- Cork boards go on top, glued with a PowerGrab glue. Love this glue! The front and the sides of the top are mitered at 45 degrees.
- The side trim is also mitered at 45 degrees on top and sides, then glued and brad-nailed to the top’s sides
After I was done with the assembly piece, I filled gaps in mitered side with walnut-colored wood filler (cork crumbles awfully when cut with a saw, even when you do it over a painters tape). Then I sanded the top and applied polyurethane a couple of times, sanding between the coats, too.
Despite being so long, my plumbers pipe bench turned out fairly sturdy. I moved it a couple of times away from the wall and it didn’t wobble. I also sat on it and it held. I wouldn’t try to stand and jump on it, though. It’s not what it was made for 🙂
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