The Big Gray Bench
This was the second thing I built, I think. It all gets a bit blurry. There were so many things built so quickly that first month or so. I mostly followed a plan, and then went my own way. The plans that I based this off of were again Ana White plans. That means pocket screws and home center pine.
Where did I diverge? Gillia wanted shelves as well as seating. As you can see, the addition of those shelves created stylish storage space. We fit some dry goods we don't use often in one crate, and a large plastic container that we use once a week to make cold brew in the other.
I had to add a center support to put the shelves in. I sized the bench based on our kitchen table, which meant it was a bit longer than the original plan. The middle panel on the ends was a Gillia suggestion. Gillia did the finishing on this one as well. It was a milk paint that came out just a bit too green originally. The second coat was more of the same stain that Gillia used on her bench.
The reasonable question to ask yourself at this point: Does this guy make anything other than gray benches? Yes. Yes, I do.
What did I learn?
I think the most important thing I learned in this one was not to be afraid to diverge from printed plans. In fact, I don't think I have yet to actually make anything where I follow the plan from soup to nuts. This is kind of a point of pride with me. It's not that I have problems with plans that other people make, and I probably will eventually make something exactly as designed soon enough, but at this early stage I was afraid to do it. What if I did it wrong? There are plenty of things you can and should do wrong in woodworking, in order to learn why you do things, in order to learn why you shouldn't do things. But, you shouldn't be afraid to try. (If you want to be afraid of things, cultivate a very healthy and early respect for things that are sharp and things that can throw chunks of wood.)
What would I do differently today?
I think I'd probably use dadoes to seat the shelves. I dunno, the cleats were a fine idea, so maybe I shouldn't second-guess past Rob. I just remember the ... um ... excessive number of holes I drilled into one of the cleats because I was having orientation issues.