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Build a chest-bench

  • Difficulty: hammer
    Close Difficulty
    Beginner Do-It-Yourselfer - Easy
    Intermediate Do-It-Yourselfer - Moderate
    Experienced Do-It-Yourselfer - Difficult
    Professional - Expert
  • Completion Time : 1 Day

For extra storage, why not build yourself this practical and decorative storage chest. This versatile piece of furniture, which becomes a bench the moment its cover is closed, measures 60" x 20" x 21".
Although this plan proposes a painted MDF construction, a do-it yourselfer who wants natural wood furniture may prefer to replace MDF with pine, cherry wood or an exotic wood essence matching existing furniture, and then tint it to the desired color.
This is a relatively simple project, which can easily be built by do-it-yourselfers


Tools and materials required


  • Bench saw or circular saw equipped with a guide block
  • Electric drill (plug in or potable)
  • Depth stop for 1/8" drill bit.
  • Depth stop for 3/8" drill bit
  • Finishing nail gun (optional)
  • Tape measure
  • Angle
  • Pencil
  • Sander


  • 2 sheets of MDF 48" x 96" x 5/8"
  • 2 jointed pine moldings (chair rails) - 1 1/16" x 2 1/2" x 96", Boulanger brand
  • 1 quarter round - 7/16" x 7/16" x 96", Boulanger brand
  • 1 jointed pine gorge - 1/16" x 7/16" x 96", Boulanger brand
  • 100 screws 1 1/4" No.8 flat head
  • 40 screws 5/8" No 8 flat head
  • 3 squared wood pieces 1" x 1" x 96"
  • Wood glue
  • Ultra fine sandpaper sponge block
  • 150 grain sandpaper
  • 1 joint-frame 5/8" x 58" long
  • 1 package of felts

Before Assembly


Elevations of chest-bench


There are a lot of parts to be cut, so be sure to identify each one before assembly.


MDF is a versatile material that makes it easy to build strong, sturdy and affordable furniture. It is advisable to always glue the parts together with wood glue before fastening them with nails or screws. If the nails or screws do not provide enough strength, use clamps to hold the assembly together while the glue dries.

Screw fastening:
Always drill pilot holes using a countersink bit, with the pieces in their final assembled position. This will prevent the MDF from buckling or splitting under the torque of the screws. In one motion, the countersink bit bores a hole for the body of the screw as well as a cavity to conceal the screw head. You can use a driver-drill to do this, but it is advisable to finish tightening the screws with a manual screwdriver to prevent the driver-drill’s speed and force from damaging the MDF and weakening the screw’s grip.

Nail fastening:
For some projects it is best to use finishing nails. In such cases, using a pneumatic nailer will get the job done more quickly and easily, and the nails will hardly show.


Always wear a protective mask when cutting or sanding MDF as the dust can be irritating and is a potential heath hazard. Work outside if you can; if this is not possible, close any air vents and doors leading to other rooms so as to prevent the dust from spreading. Open a window while you work and cover all items in the room with dust sheets. Vacuum once you have finished cutting.



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Storage chest-bench with decorative moulding made of MDF
Build a chest-bench