This post contains affiliate links for which I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you should you make a purchase. See my disclosure page for info on affiliate programs.

 

In this DIY tutorial, I show you how to build a bench seat for kitchen table or dining table.

Additionally, you will learn how to make bench legs, how to attach legs without an apron, and much more.

Tools I Used to Build a Dining Bench Seat

So, let’s dive right in with a list of tools I used for this project.
I realize most folks reading this article don’t own some of the tools I used in this project.
As a result, I listed alternative tools to make this project more budget-friendly.

DIY Project Plans
Rubio Monocoat
Festool Domino
Biscuit Joiner (Alternative Tool)
Rotex Sander
Oribital Sander (Alternative Tool)
40 grit Sandpaper
60 grit Sandpaper
80 grit Sandpaper
120 grit Sandpaper
150 grit Sandpaper
180 grit Sandpaper
220 grit Sandpaper
320 grit Sandpaper
HEPA Vacuum
Track Saw
Circular Saw (Alternative Tool)
Track
Straight Edge (Alternative Tool)
MFT3 Table
Bandsaw
Jig Saw (Alternative Tool)
Bandsaw Blade
Chisels
Pocket Sander
Threaded Inserts
Furniture Glides
Drill Bit for Threaded Inserts
Drill
Large Speed Square
Parallel Clamps
F Clamps

Video Tutorial: How To Build a Bench Seat for Kitchen Table

There are several things which are difficult to fully explain with words and images, so be sure to check out the video tutorial below!

Kitchen Table Bench Plans

I recommend downloading the DIY dining table bench seat plans if you plan to build this yourself.
These DIY dining table bench plans plans include:

  • 65 page pdf with detailed photo illustrations for each step.
  • Material List.
  • Tool List along with recommendations for Alternate Tools.
  • Cut List.
  • Simple woodworking techniques and DIY tips.
DIY Dining Table Bench Plans PDF

Bench Seat for Kitchen Table

I designed this rustic bench to accompany a epoxy river walnut dining table for a client.

diy walnut slab epoxy dining table sketchup

The half lap joinery I used on this simple bench bottom adds strength and a farmhouse style.
In addition, the bench seat top attaches to the bottom via threaded inserts and screws.
Threaded inserts make it easy to detach the bench top for easy shipping and transport.

DIY Farmhouse Bench Seat Design

Bench Seat for Kitchen Table Dimensions

The dimensions of this bench seat are 50″ x 15″ x 18.25″ (L x W x H).
Often times, people ask me the following question:
How deep should a bench seat be?
It should be deep enough to slide under the table. In other words, half the width of the table top.

DIY Farmhouse Bench Seat Design

Best Wood for Table Bench Seat

I used black walnut slabs for the walnut dining table this bench was built for.
In order to match the table, I used dimensional black walnut wood to build this simple dining bench and DIY bench legs.
Obviously, using live edge walnut slabs for a dining table bench would not be a wise thing to do.

I visited my local hardwood dealer & purchased the walnut wood I needed to build the dining table bench.
Ultimately, I needed the walnut boards to be at least 6″ wide and 2″ thick.

black walnut wood

Prepare Wood

Track Saw
Circular Saw (Alternative Tool)
Track
Straight Edge (Alternative Tool)
MFT3 Table

To prepare the walnut wood, I used my track saw & track to get a straight side for each board.
Most of the time, my track saw does the job of a jointer.

track saw on walnut wood

Next, I used the straight side for reference on my MFT3 table to square each end of each board.
I kept the straight side against the MFT3 guide rail system to make sure each end remained square.

Festool TS75 MFT3 Cross Cut
Festool TS75 MFT3 Cross Cut

Then, I made the final rip cut on the other side with my track saw to a final width of 5″.
As a final step, I cross cut 3 boards at 50″ long for the bench seat top.

straight side with track saw

Bench Seat Top Wood Joinery

Large Speed Square
Festool Domino
Biscuit Joiner (Alternative Tool)
Parallel Clamps
F Clamps

I used my festool domino to join the 3 boards for the dining table bench top.

Domino Joiner Alternative

As I listed in the tools section at the beginning of this article, a biscuit joiner works as an alternative tool.
For the cheapest alternative, I recommend a dowel jig for wood joinery.

Mark Domino Locations

First, I marked the domino locations 3″ from each end and made marks 12″ apart in between.
I labeled each mark with corresponding letters on each board in case I mixed them up.

diy dining table bench seat
diy dining table bench seat

Once I marked the domino locations, I cut each mortise.

festool domino bench seat

Next, I spread glue and inserted the dominos.

spread glue on mortises
insert dominos

I placed the boards together, clamped them with parallel clamps, and let the glue dry for a few hours.

clamp dining table bench seat

Sand DIY Dining Table Bench Seat

Rotex Sander
Oribital Sander (Alternative Tool)
40 grit Sandpaper
60 grit Sandpaper
80 grit Sandpaper
120 grit Sandpaper
150 grit Sandpaper
180 grit Sandpaper
220 grit Sandpaper
320 grit Sandpaper
HEPA Vacuum

Once the glue dried, I used my swirl-free wood sanding technique to sand the bench seat.

sanding dining table bench seat

For an extra smooth wood surface, wipe the surface with a damp rag after sanding with the last grit to raise the grain. Sand again with the highest grit while the surface is still damp.

How To Make Bench Legs

Bandsaw
Jig Saw (Alternative Tool)
Bandsaw Blade
Chisels
Parallel Clamps
F Clamps

Once I finished the DIY dining table bench seat top, I started building the bench seat bottom.
The bottom closely resembles the walnut epoxy dining table bottom – a simple, farmhouse-style bottom with half-lap wood joinery.

First, I cut the pieces of walnut to size on my bandsaw.

trim wood with bandsaw

Straight Cuts on a Bandsaw?

As a side note, I sold my table saw and this piece of wood was too small for my track saw.
So, most people believe you can’t get a straight cut on a bandsaw.
But, I beg to differ.
With the proper bandsaw, bandsaw blade, and a few passes with my low angle jack plane, I can get a very straight cut.

Half Lap Wood Joint with Bandsaw

After I cut the pieces of walnut wood for the bench seat bottom, I measured and marked the locations of the half lap joints.
I cut the half-lap joints on my bandsaw.
To cut a half-lap joint, each joint needs to be cut half the thickness and the same width of the other board.

bandsaw half lap wood joint
bandsaw half lap wood joint
bandsaw half lap wood joint
bandsaw half lap wood joint

Also, I always cut my half-lap joints a bit small and clean them up with my chisels.
Sandpaper works as well, but takes longer.

clean wood joint with chisel
clean wood joint with chisel

Glue Half-Lap Joints

Once I finished cleaning the wood joints with my chisels, I glued the cross braces for the top runner and bottom runner.

half lap wood joint glue up
half lap wood joint glue up
half lap wood joint glue up

Next, I clamped the half lap joints with F clamps and allowed them to dry for a few hours.

half lap wood joint glue up

I used my festool domino to join the bottom and top runner to the 4 posts.

Finally, I checked for square, used parallel clamps to secure everything in place, and allowed the bench bottom to dry overnight.

clamp bench seat bottom

How To Attach Legs Without Apron

Threaded Inserts
Furniture Glides
Drill Bit for Threaded Inserts
Drill

Since I need to ship this DIY dining table bench seat across the country, I designed the bench seat to easily detach from the bench bottom.
To attach the bench seat to the bench bottom without an apron, I used the same procedure to attach the table top to table base using threaded inserts and connector blocks.
More on threaded inserts in a later step.

Use 2 Speed Squares to Center Bottom

First, I used 2 speed squares to easily mark the location of the four bench legs.
The first speed square measures from the side while the other measures from the end.

attach bench bottom to bench seat
attach bench bottom to bench seat

By using 2 speed squares, I eliminate the potential of error when adjusting 1 speed square to measure 2 distances.

attach bench bottom to bench seat

Once I marked the 4 locations, I placed the bench bottom on the marks and traced it on each end.

attach bench bottom to bench seat

Connector Blocks

I find connector blocks (handmade pieces of wood) with threaded inserts make it easy to connect a table bench bottom to a bench seat.
So, I used pieces of walnut wood to cut out 4 identical connector blocks.

connector blocks for bench bottom

Next, I used plastic wrap to prevent the connector blocks from sticking to the dining table bench bottom.

connector blocks for bench bottom

Then, I applied glue and placed the connector blocks in the ideal location.

glue connector blocks to bench seat
glue connector blocks to bench seat

I used a scrap piece of thin walnut with a few clamps to apply a bit of pressure so the glue will adhere properly.

clamp connector blocks to bench seat

Finally, I removed the bench bottom from the bench seat.

remove bench bottom
DIY Dining Table Bench Seat Underside

How To Install Threaded Inserts

Threaded Inserts work really well to connect pieces of furniture together.
First, I placed the bench bottom in position and marked the depth of my drill bit with a piece of electrical tape.
Next, I drilled through the connector block and into the middle cross bar slightly deeper than the length of the threaded insert.

install threaded inserts

Next, I removed the bench bottom and applied glue to the hole I drilled on the cross bar.

install threaded inserts

Then, I used my drill to secure the threaded insert in the hole very slowly in order to avoid stripping the hole.

install threaded inserts

After the glue cured for. afew hours, I secured the dining table bench seat to the bottom with a screw.