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I built this banquette over the weekend, posted it on Facebook, and now I have a few people asking for plans. While I don’t have any plans specifically, I did take a lot of pictures along the way to show how it was build. I hope this is helpful!

For supplies I used:

  • Kreg Pocket Hole jig with 2.5-in screws
  • 8 96″ 2×4 Whitewood Stud
  • 24′ 1×4 Primed Pine (for top/bottom molding)
  • 30″ Nickel Piano Hinge
  • 48″ Nickel Piano Hinge
  • 40′ 15/16-in White Batten (for panel molding)
  • 5mm (1/4″) Utility Panel (face)
  • 23/32 (3/4″) A/C Arauco Radiata Plywood
  • 1 Qt eggshell paint color matched to cabinets
  • 3/8″ flathead hardwood plugs
  • About 20 2″ screws

Supplies were about $200 total, but because you don’t use a whole box of screws or sheet of plywood, the actual expense was about $140 of that.

I started by framing the bench with 2x4s. I ripped one to 2×2, but that was a mistake. Instead orient this 2×4 the way you see it here on the other bench. This provides support for both sides of the hinged plywood. The benches are designed to put you at about 18″ off the ground with sitting on a cushion, assuming a 2-inch cushion that compresses to about an inch. The wooden frames are 16″ high, and come out about 20″ from the wall to provide space for pillows at the back.

I got a sheet of 3/4″ AC plywood (pretty clean on one side) and 1/4″ primed plywood for the sides. Most home centers will cut these for you to size.

I cut the 1/4 plywood to size for the side panels and taped them in place until I got them all fitting properly.

I cut the lids to size also, before ripping them for the hinges. I usually dry fit everything before I fasten them.

I spaced out the lids with sheets of cardboard.

I ripped the back edges of the lids to place the hinges. In this picture you can see that I repaired the mistake I noted above (with the 2×2 instead of the 2×4).

Installed all the hinges (cut to size with a hack saw) with just a few screws each in case I needed to readjust them.

I used 1×4 primed pine for the trim, working my way around and mitering the outside corners — starting on the bottom. I attached them with a nail gun, and used pieces of card stock to lift them a hair off the ground. (I wanted to make it easier to protect the floor from paint.)

On the top, I wanted to leave a little lip to contain the cushions and help keep them from sliding off the lids. The boards extend about 3/4″ from the top of the lid. At this point, I had to keep one lid open all the time or I’d probably have to use a vacuum to get it back open, so I attached a piece of string stapled to the bottom of one of the lids.

I also made a trim piece to cover the outside corners, and you can see that I did a test fit of the decorative molding, which is just taped into place.

I cut the cut the batten to size carefully so they were all the same size.

I glued them on and held them in place with tape while the glue dried.

I drilled 1-inch holes for finger pulls.

The top trim board is likely going to see a lot of weight, so I reinforced those with some inset 2-inch screws, filling the holes with glued plugs, and then later flush cutting them with a Japanese saw.

Next came the paint, which I had matches to our new cabinets. I started by sliding some card stock under the bottom molding to protect the floor.

Here’s the finished banquette. Next we need to make some cushions!

Technical Information

Files are resized with imagemagick, using: magick convert *.jpg[1000x1000] -interlace line -quality 85 -gravity SouthEast -font Arial -pointsize 14 -fill black -annotate +2+2 "(c)2019 theFrankes.com" -fill white -annotate +3+3 "(c)2019 theFrankes.com" BanquetteZ%03d.jpg

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Here’s a quick update on some of the projects we’ve been working on this year:

We got a Mazda CX-5 and so far we’re pretty happy with it. We wanted an organizer in the back, though, to help prevent things from falling over and rolling around, and we wanted it to be easy to collapse if necessary. Here’s how we made one for less than $15. Add a few extra dollars for bungee cords to hold the organizer in place if you want. (Mazda recommends that you secure the stuff you put in the back.)

The bins were designed to accommodate our reusable grocery bags, with some tight nooks in the back for things like baseballs, pencil kits, and books. (The kids can open up the middle section and reach back.) Placed close to the back seats, this design still allows access to things stored with the spare tire. It can be disassembled pretty quickly if necessary. 

20130805-131227.jpg

Supplies:

  • 1 piece of 1x6x10′ pine (whiteboard) lumber, and be sure it’s not splitting at the ends. This should cost about $10 at the home center — ask them to cut it in half for you and you’ll be able to fit it into the CX-5.
  • 1 can of flat black spray paint. I got Painter’s Touch, which was labeled “primer + paint” for less than $4.
  • 2 bungee cords, approximately 18″ long unstretched. We had these laying around from a Harbor Freight assortment kit we got a while back. They’re probably about $1 each, and are use to secure both the organizer to the floor, and secure bags in the two outer bins.
  • 4 3/4″ felt pads. These are really optional, but might help prevent damage to the interior of the car. We had them on had, but you can also pick them up at the home center for a couple dollars.

Directions:

  1. From each 5-foot length, cut one 41″ board, and one 17″ board.
  2. On both 17″ boards, measure in 1 3/4″ from each end and cut a 3/4″ slot across half the width of the board. Cut both boards together.
  3. On both 41″ boards, measure 13″ from each end and cut a 3/4″ slot across half the width of the board. Cut both boards together.
  4. Also on both 41″ boards, measure about 2 1/2″ from each end and drill a 1/2″ hole so it overlaps the edge of the board enough to fit a bungee cord. Do this on the opposite side from the slots if you want the 41″ boards to hold down the 17″ boards, or on the same side to make the weak ends of the 17″ boards a little more protected from accidental breaks.
  5. Sand, assemble, and paint.
  6. Attach a felt pad to the middle of the end of each 41″ board, and install into car. Run the bungee from the back hook, through the drill holes, and up to the front hook. You can tie a knot in the bungee where it passes through the board to help keep it in place if it slides.

Boards

It’s important to note that the small sections of 17″ board on the outside of the 41″ boards will be weak because there’s only 2.5″ against the grain holding them in place. If you’re going to be disassembling/reassembling this a lot, you might want to glue some blocks to those weak areas to strengthen them.

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In this video, Jacob shows an easy way to make very simple and inexpensive (yet dependable) bare wire end stops for your 3D printer (or other motion control project). This design helps to “demystify the box” by putting all of the switch mechanics in plain view, making it very easy to understand. We’ve had a printer with end stops just like these running without incident for over a year.

Our original “One-Penny Bare Wire End Stop” can be found here, but you can see from the video that we’ve changed the way we do it slightly: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:23878

Supplies used: Old network cable, paper clip, end stop holder, electrical tape, solder, and about 2 cm of solid copper wire. Tools used: Wire strippers, small triangular file, needle-nose pliers (with wire cutter), ruler, soldering iron or gun, and scissors.

Music: “Crosstalk (Take 3)” by Javolenus, 2013 – Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial (3.0), http://ccmixter.org/files/Javolenus/41845

Here’s a short video that shows how I make hobbed bolts using an M4 tap, a drill press, and a couple of 608 bearings. If you don’t have a grinder, you can chuck the bolt in the drill press and use a dremel tool or file to cut the groove. The groove gives the tap something to bite into.

Please pardon the focus hunting and lighting—it’s thefirst video with the DSLR. And here’s what especially cool about this video: At about 2:40 you might notice that the bolt is spinning in time with the music… totally unplanned.

Here’s the result. You may notice that I was trying to correct for a slightly off-center grind, so the cut profile looks a bit different on either side.

vlcsnap-2013-04-22-18h50m14s233

Music: “Me Robo El Show” by Alex, 2011 – Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) http://ccmixter.org/files/AlexBeroza/34167

(BTW: Yes, I’m aware that the lyrics have nothing at all to do with making a hobbed bolt, but this is a great mix of an excellent vocal by Farina, and so I used it anyway.)

This came out a couple of years ago, but someone reminded me of it just this weekend so I thought I’d share it. It’s a great little introduction to soldering. Click on the image or the following link to visit the site and see the full cartoon tutorial. (http://log.andie.se/post/397677855/soldering-is-easy)

soldering_howto_cartoon

Make Magazine also did a great “How to Solder” round-up a couple years ago. Visit that site here: http://blog.makezine.com/2009/07/21/super-learn-to-solder-its-fun-round/