The Perfect Bench for Any Room


Unfinished bench for the Renegade Craft Fair

When we went shopping for some unfinished furniture to feature at last month’s Renegade Craft Fair in Seattle, I couldn’t resist this hardwood bench, for what room in your house couldn’t use a handy bench? I have one at the end of our bed, in our mudroom, and in our workout area in our family room.


Bruce pre-staining bench

If there is one thing I have learned about wood, it is that all wood is unpredictable. So before I stain any piece, I apply a coat of  Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner to reduce the possibility that the wood will absorb my stain unevenly.

Bruce Johnson staining the bench base

I love the opportunity for a two-tone staining project, so I selected “Red Mahogany” in the Minwax® Wood Finish™ line for the base. A foam brush works well for getting the stain into corners, but I always follow that by wiping off any unabsorbed stain with a clean cloth. Stain dries in the wood, not on the wood!

Bruce Johnson staining the top of the bench

With a dark toned base, I opted for a lighter top, selecting “Golden Oak” stain. While this light colored stain does not add a great deal of color, it brings out the grain of the wood much more than if I had skipped the stain and only applied a clear coat of finish.

Finished bench

And speaking of a clear finish, my favorite is  Minwax® Fast-Drying Polyurethane. I recommend brushing on two coats, with a light sanding with #220-grit sandpaper of the first coat after it has dried, just to remove the dust that landed in the wet finish.

And when you’re finished, I’ll predict your hardest decision will be which room gets your new bench!

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!