In my last post I told you about how I bought the galvanized metal chairs I have been lusting after for years. Today we’re talking about the other side of the table…the farmhouse benches.
These are the complete opposite of my metal chairs… their homemade, cheap, and NOT sturdy. And even though I spent ridiculous amounts of time stalking my metal chair prey….these were way more of a pain. What I’m trying to say is that this is not a tutorial. More like a story of failure, failure…and then semi-success.
A couple years ago Adam built this farmhouse table and bench…
We’d never had a bench at a table before, and I loved it. It was crazy cheap to make, could hold a ton of people, and is great for the kids. Then this summer Adam decided he wanted to sell that table and build one out of better wood. He built the top out of pecan and when he asked me what kind of base I wanted I showed him this picture from Pottery Barn.
I loved the casual X base, plus it looked easy to clean around (the first farmhouse table was kind of a pain to clean under).
Then it came time to build the benches, so I went back to Pottery Barn to show Adam a picture of the matching X base benches. Except, there weren’t any. The Toscana table has X legs…but the Toscana bench doesn’t. Intriguing.
This should have been a clue that X base benches were a bad idea…but it wasn’t.
Since we obviously know better than Pottery Barn Adam went ahead and build cute little X’s for our bench legs (using the Kreg Jig).
We wanted to put some rustic looking pecan on top to match the table, so we dug out a few extra planks that we had leftover and assembled the benches.
But…they looked weird. The pecan pieces were too small and thin, and they just looked wrong to me. Tell me I’m not crazy. (He even had to cut the corners of the X’s off to make the tops fit.)
Adam agreed and we built new beefy farmhouse style tops. (There was one big chunky piece of pecan left, that went on the bench in the hallway).
Now the X base table is solid as a rock, but for some reason the X’s on the benches are not at all sturdy. They were crazy wobbly and sitting on them was like taking your life in your hands. Perhaps it’s because the table X’s are thicker? I don’t know, but Adam added a cross beam to the angled beams and called it a day. This part doesn’t look amazing, but whatever….remember the motto. “Farmhouse, baby!”…you can get away with stuff like that if you just call it “farmhouse”.
AND THEN, a few days later, this happened…
Good grief, really? Luckily Adam had been sitting on it and not one of the kids. Glue, screws, and lots of farmhouse-y things happened…and we’re done. Unless they break again…then we’re just going to build regular legged benches like Pottery Barn told us too. It’s kinda like they’ve done this before.
So that’s my cautionary tale about X base benches. I’ve also been fighting the urge to put a rug under the table…Visually, a rug would look amazing and break up my awful (but a bit better now!) beige tiles. Practically, putting a rug under the table would be the most disgusting thing to happen to my house since mixing kids and a microfiber couch. So no rug it is.
If you’re wondering why we made two benches this time instead of one, it’s so that each kid can have his own. The single one was really long and heavy and hard to the kids to move. At mealtimes they each sit (well, stand) on one end. What tended to happen was one kid would be eating, and the other would come up to his side and pull out the bench…which really just pivots it, pushing the occupied side under the table and knocking the other kid off. So…two benches.
Also, while we’re talking about kids and benches I just have to share. My kids cannot for the life if them say the words “bench”. They THINK they’re saying bench, but what they are really saying is a word that sounds similar and is but is usually preceded by “son of a …”. I have sat down with them and practiced “say BEN…now say CH.” Nope, doesn’t help…they just end up cursing at me. I’ve decided just to let it go a fully enjoy the hilariousness of it before they grow out of it. It’s especially awesome when I am having a rough day and I hear Elijah pulling out his bench and saying “Oh man this bench is heavy!” Totally makes my day, every time. Kids are awesome.