Kitchen Bench Seating with Storage – Build/How To. Jake Maier · May 20, 2020 · Kitchen bench seating with underneath storage; I designed, built and installed this piece for a customer. The customer has a big family that spends a lot of time together, and wanted an area where everyone can hang out, relax and eat together. Once the design is finished, materials are on site and the layout is complete, it’s time to start building the kitchen bench seating with storage. The first step is framing the bench structure. I like to go to the lumber yard myself and select each 2×4, being mindful of warps, bows, crowns and any other damage. Starting with nice, straight lumber will make the project go smoothly. Framing The BenchWhenever practical, I like to build things plumb, level and square. This can sometimes make install of a prebuilt piece more difficult, as many times the, walls, ceilings, and floors being installed to, are not plumb, level or square. A good installer can overcome these difficulties and end up with a great looking space. Lots of planning, very accurate measurements, precise layout and solid processes during install will help you immensely. Back to framing; I always begin by making a cut list, an organized list of all the individual pieces meeded to assemble the frame. Once all of the pieces are cut, find a flat surface to assemble them. Either a framing nailer or a drill and driver work perfectly. When screwing the frame together, I use 2 1/2” #10 screws and a countersink bit for pre-drill. Every 90 degree corner gets a square put on it, before and after screwing it together. Clamps can be very useful in pulling and holding the frame square while screwing it together. I find it helpful to build one piece at a time, then assemble the pieces, then install the whole piece. Check each piece for square and once assembled, check the whole frame for square, by measuring on a diagonal from corner to corner. The measurements should be the same. Its a frame and will for the most part be covered up, with that being said, the better its built from the beginning, the easier it will be to install and the better the final product will be at the end. After framing the bench structure, installing it plumb, level and square, and sheeting it with 1/2” sanded plywood, I bench-build the face frames, scribe, sand, route, and then install them. Building Face FramesThe face-frames are built from 3/4 Poplar, glued and pocket screwed together. They are built to the highest and widest dimensions needed to sit tight against the floor at the bottom, be flush with the plywood at the top, and meet the wall/other face-frame tight on the sides. The face-frames are then attached to the bench structure with clamps and temporary screws, making sure to attach them plumb, level and square. As the surfaces being installed too are not always plumb, level and square, this can sometimes be tricky. Though once you have a solid process it becomes less tricky. For example; let’s say the floor is 1” out of level from end to end. The face-frame will be built to highest dimension, or the dimension of the lowest point in the floor, to the top of the plywood. This dimension is found by finding the low point and high point on the floor. I use a laser level, but any long level that you can project level lines onto the wall with will work. Once your level lines are on the wall, measure from the floor to the line, at multiple points across the area you are checking. The highest measurement is the low point. The lowest measurement is the high point. When temporarily attaching the face-frames to the bench in order to draw the scribe lines, remember, the face-frames need to be plumb, level and square for the scribe, or else when you install them they will again, be out of plumb, level and square, and won’t fit tight to the floor and flush with the plywood on top. In this situation, one side of the face-frame will be touching the floor and flush with the plywood on top, while the other side will be proud of the plywood by whatever measurement the floor is out of level, and floating off the floor. Once the face-frames are where you want them, and temporarily secured to the bench, you are ready to draw the scribe lines. Set your scribe to the highest point that the face-frames stick above the plywood, and scribe all your face-frames to the floor in one shot. The ends of the face-frames where they meet the wall will also need to be scribed to fit tight to the wall. Be sure to build all the face-frames, attach all the face-frames and scribe all the face-frames at the same time. This process ensures a uniform fit and makes your job easier. This is also the time to mark out index lines where the face-frames will join at the outside corners for your slots and biscuits. Once everything is marked, the face-frames are ready to go back to the table saw/ assembly table. The scribe lines can be cut with many different ways. I like to cut close to the line with the table saw beveled at about 15 degrees, and then finish with a belt sander. This process makes it simpler for me to achieve a nice clean scribe that will fit tight to the floor and wall. After scribing and test fitting, fill any imperfections in the seams, sand up to 120 grit, or higher for a smoother more luxurious finish. With the pocket screw joinery, and the seams clamped and glued, there is usually no need for wood filler, so that step can be skipped if not needed. Run a trim router set up with a 1/4” round over bit, or any other appropriate edge profiling bit, over the edges that will be exposed, including the inside edge of the panel detail. The inside corners will need to be hit with a piece of hand sandpaper to make the edge profile consistent through the corner. Next, cut slots for the biscuits that will help to assemble the sides of the face-frames together. When the face-frames have been built, scribed and milled, it’s time to install them. I like to use nickel sized dabs of construction adhesive on the back of the face-frame, clamps to provide pressure while glue dries and 18 gauge pins for good measure. Face-frames… done!