Steps // How to Build a Simple Mudroom Bench
1 ×

Dimensions and Cut List

 
Step One // How to Build a Simple Mudroom Bench

Dimensions and Cut List

exploded illustration of mudroom storage bench
Illustration by Gregory Nemec

Finished Dimensions:
18”W x 48”L x 18”H

Download and print the cut list:
Top: 18 x 48

Bottom: 16 ½ x 46 ½

Divider (4): 14 x 16 ½

Back: 14 1⁄8 x 46 ½

Front base: 3 ½ x 48

Side base (2): 3 ½ x 18 1⁄8

Center support: 3 x 16 ½

Side filler (2): 3 x 16 ½

Front filler (2): 3 x 22

 
2 ×

Cut Pieces to Size

 
Step Two // How to Build a Simple Mudroom Bench

Cut Pieces to Size

Tom Silva cuts MDF parts for a mudroom storage bench using a table saw
Photo by Colleen McQuaid

Following the cut list, saw the MDF into 14 parts. Leave the top and bottom as a single 3-by-4-foot panel for now. Smooth the faces and edges with 180-grit sandpaper. Mark a line widthwise on the 3-by-4-foot panel 3⁄4  inch from each end, then two evenly spaced parallel lines between them.

 
3 ×

Rout the 3-by-4-Foot Panel

 
Step Three // How to Build a Simple Mudroom Bench

Rout the 3-by-4-Foot Panel

Tom Silva uses a router to create the top and bottom storage sections for an MDF mudroom storage bench
Photo by Colleen McQuaid

Using a guide, rout a 5⁄16-inch-deep dado along the inside edges of the end marks and down the middle of the other marks. Stop the bit 3⁄4 inch from one edge, as shown. Square that end with a chisel, and saw the panel lengthwise into two pieces. The top piece has the stopped dadoes.

 
4 ×

Drill Pilot Holes

 
Step Four // How to Build a Simple Mudroom Bench

Drill Pilot Holes

Kevin O'Connor drills pilot holes for easy mudroom storage bench assembly
Photo by Colleen McQuaid

Make 3⁄4-inch rabbets at the ends of the bottom piece by slicing off one side of each dado. Then use a countersink bit to drill three evenly spaced pilot holes into every dado and rabbet, top and bottom, and along the back edge of the top piece. Countersink each hole through the board’s opposite face.

 
5 ×

Glue the First Divider

 
Step Five // How to Build a Simple Mudroom Bench

Glue the First Divider

Tom Silva glues the first divider for a mudroom storage bench
Photo by Colleen McQuaid

Lay a bead of wood glue, such as , in the rabbet and brush it over both sides of the cut. Set the first divider in the rabbet, then turn the assembly on its side to expose the countersunk pilot holes in the bottom piece. Enlist a helper or use clamps to steady the corner.

 
6 ×

Secure with Screws

 
Step Six // How to Build a Simple Mudroom Bench

Secure with Screws

Kevin O'Connor and Tom Silva screw together the dividers for a mudroom storage bench
Photo by Colleen McQuaid

Align the ends and edges, then drive a deck screw into each of the three pilot holes and recess its head slightly. Flip the assembly back upright and wipe off excess glue with a damp cloth. Spread glue in the next dado, tap in a divider with a mallet, then flip and screw as before. Repeat with the other dividers.

 
7 ×

Fit the Top

 
Step Seven // How to Build a Simple Mudroom Bench

Fit the Top

(left) Kevin O'Connor and Tom Silva glues top panel of the mudroom storage bench, (right) setting the mitered edges in place
Photo by Colleen McQuaid

Spread glue into the top’s dadoes, and, with the dividers resting upright, set the top in place, as shown. Tap it down with the mallet. Check that the chiseled dado ends are tight against the dividers’ front edges, and that there’s a 3⁄4-inch overhang at the back. Drive three screws through the top and into each divider.

Tip: Put away the tape measure

  • For tight miters in trim, line up your base pieces against the cubby assembly, as shown on the right, then mark the cuts directly on the pieces themselves. That ensures your miters will be tight, and that the cubby assembly will fit snugly in its base.
  • For perfectly aligned dadoes, top and bottom, run the router across both pieces at one time. In this case, Tom carved long dadoes across the face of one panel, then cut the panel in two lengthwise, creating two pieces with matched dadoes. This same technique also comes in handy when building cabinets with fixed shelves.
 
8 ×

Fasten the Back

 
Step Eight // How to Build a Simple Mudroom Bench

Fasten the Back

Kevin O'Connor and Tom Silva attach the back of the mudroom storage bench
Photo by Colleen McQuaid

Lay a bead of glue along the top edge of the back piece and the back edges of the dividers and bottom piece. Press the back into the glue lines, and drive three screws through the top and into the back. Hold the back in place with clamps or pneumatically driven brads.

 
9 ×

Assemble the Base

 
Step Nine // How to Build a Simple Mudroom Bench

Assemble the Base

assembling the mudroom storage bench base
Photo by Colleen McQuaid

Cut miters in both ends of the base’s front and one end of each side piece. Glue and nail a filler to the inside of each side piece; glue and nail an end of those pairs to each of the front’s miters. Glue and nail the center support, then the fillers, to the front’s back side.

 
10 ×

Set Cubbies in Base

 
Step Ten // How to Build a Simple Mudroom Bench

Set Cubbies in Base

Kevin O'Connor and Tom Silva assemble to top to the cubby dividers of a mudroom storage bench
Photo by Colleen McQuaid

Put glue on the top edges of the fillers and center support, then, with a helper, drop the cubby assembly onto them. Shoot a brad through the midpoint at the front of each cubby and into the front fillers. Smooth the wiped areas with 220-grit sandpaper, then prime and paint.

 
11 ×

Prime and Paint

 
Step Eleven // How to Build a Simple Mudroom Bench

Prime and Paint

Tom Silva stands next to the primed and finished mudroom storage bench with storage cubbies and seating cushion
Photo by Colleen McQuaid

For the finish, they applied a shellac-based primer and two coats of semigloss acrylic-latex paint. A cushion makes for comfortable seating.

 

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