How to Build a Leather Director’s Bench
by Elisha from Pneumatic Addict
- (4) 2 x 2 boards (hardwood or “select pine”)
- (1) 54″ x 27″ – piece of leather or upholstery weight “faux leather”
- (9) yards of 1-1/2″ wide – woven cotton webbing (found in the trim section of the fabric store)
- (4) 3″ wood screws
- (8) 2″ wood screws
- wood glue
- 1/2″ heavy duty staples
- 3/32″ drill bit
- 3/8″ forstner bit
- 3/8″ flat top wood plugs
- miter saw or circular saw
- cordless drill
- face clamps
- heavy duty staple gun
- (2) 2 x 2 @ 42″
- (1) 2 x 2 @ 35-3/4″
- (4) 2 x 2 cut at 45 degrees (parallel) on both ends @ 25-1/2″ (long end to long end)
- (1) piece of leather or “faux leather” @ approx. 42″ x 26″
- (12) pieces of woven cotton webbing @ approx. 26″
The wood frame is very simple to build with the exception of one pair of half lap joints. Start by cutting four cross pieces at 25-1/2″ in length, square on both ends. Measure 12″ from each end, giving you a 1-1/2″ section in the middle. Measure half the depth of your board and mark the sides. You can remove the middle section a number of ways. I used a table saw, making several passes, but you could use a router or even a sharp chisel.
Apply glue to all three sides of the notches, and join two end pieces together. Repeat with the remaining two cross pieces, creating two X’s.
Once the end pieces are dry, you can connect them together with the 35-3/4″ long center rail. Pre-drill two 3/32″ holes through the center of each X, and into the end of the center rail. Use a 3/8″ forstner bit to counter-sink the holes 3/8″ deep. Apply glue to the joints and connect the end pieces to the center rail using 3″, #8 wood screws.
Center a 42″ top rail on each side of the frame, creating a 2″ overhang on each end. Pre-drill two holes through the rails and into each arm. Apply glue and secure with 2″ #8 wood screws.
Once the glue is fully dry, the frame is complete and its time to wrap the seat. The leather itself isn’t strong enough to hold much weight. Creating a sub-layer of cotton webbing will give the seat support. Wrap a length of webbing around the frame and staple to inside face of one top rail. Flip the webbing around the opposite rail and pull tightly as possible (an extra pair of hands comes in really handy at this point) and secure to the inside face. Space each strip of webbing 2-3/16″ apart, across the length of the top rails.
I love the look of the raw maple and the wood plugs.
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