Dwell Made Presents: DIY Black Oak Bench

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By Ben Uyeda
Make the perfect bench for a dining room or entryway with this easy-to-follow video and guide.

In this episode of Dwell Made, Ben Uyeda of HomeMade Modern makes his own ebonizing stain out of steel wool and vinegar, and then turns an oak stair tread into a stylish bench by adding hairpin legs. This is a simple DIY bench that would make ideal seating at a dining table, or serve as a place to take shoes off in an entryway or mudroom.

Key Products

16" Hairpin Legs

Distilled White Vinegar

Steel Wool

Minwax Wipe-On Poly 

Stair Tread

Step 1: Make the Ebonizing Stain 

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I tore up some pieces of steel wool and placed them in a jar before pouring distilled white vinegar over the top. I let this mixture sit for one week.

Step 2: Trim the Oak Stair Tread 

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I bought a solid oak stair tread from Home Depot. One of the edges is rounded over, so I clamped it down to saw horses and used my circular saw to trim off the rounded edge.

Step 3: Sand the Oak

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I used 150 grit sand paper to smooth down the oak. 

Step 4: Apply the Stain

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After sitting for a week, the steel wool had started to rust and oxidize in the vinegar. I used a foam brush to spread this mixture onto the oak. The oak immediately started to turn black.

Step 5: Prepare the Wood for Sealing

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The wood looked a bit reddish in color after the stain had dried. This is from the rust particles in the stain. I used a clean, damp rag to wipe off the wood and remove this dust and red tint. I let the wood dry and then used 220 grit sand paper to very lightly sand the wood grain that had been raised by the stain and damp rag.

Step 6: Seal the Oak 

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I want the grain of the oak to show, but I also want to protect the wood, so I used Minwax Wipe-On Poly in satin. I can apply this in thin coats with a clean rag, and the wood will be sealed, but I can steel see and feel the grain. I made sure to wipe off all dust with a clean rag before pouring some of the poly on a clean rag and rubbing it into the wood.

Step 7: Add Hairpin Legs

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I screwed some 16" hairpin legs to the underside of the oak using ¾" pan head screws. 

Options

If you don’t have a drill or a circular saw, you can just leave the rounded edge and use screw-on legs from Floyd.

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For more projects like this, follow Dwell Made on Instagram and YouTube.

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