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Tommy suggests constructing a simpler version of this, his Blanket Chest.

Tuesdays With Tommy: Storage Bench

It's a fact in many homes that the entryway space accumulates the everyday items, clothes and footwear used by family members. Over time this stuff builds up and spills into everyone's path, tripping guests and creating a mess. The entryway storage bench is a perfect solution for this area of the home. It can provide comfortable seating for the putting on of footwear and can keep the clutter contained.

In this week's Tuesdays with Tommy, woodworker and TV host Tommy Mac shares some tips on how to build a better storage bench.

The Problem

Jack from Minnesota: I want to build a storage bench for my entryway. Any advice on type of wood to use? I want to make sure it's strong enough to sit on, so what thickness should I be looking at? Also, if I plan to store shoes and boots inside, should I lay anything down on the inside floor of the bench to protect it from mud and moisture?

The Answer

Tommy: My advice would be to go with a simpler version of my Blanket Chest project. So for wood, you've got a few options. Go with oak -- like white oak -- or maple or cherry. Even pine would take a good beating.

If you are really concerned about the inside, you can put a cedar bottom on it. But if you build a decent box with a half-decent finish, you should have to worry about it.

To make sure it's strong, obviously you'll want it well-built. Make sue the lid overlaps the sides. Consider using mortise and tenons. And for stock, you could do fine with a 3/4", 7/8" or 1-inch.

Stress will rise when the walls come down. Stress will rise when the walls come down.

Homeowners' Stress Rises during Remodel

There’s no doubt that a remodeling, addition or new construction job brings stress to the homeowners. Just ask me. Last spring we added a new upstairs bedroom and a downstairs entryway and mudroom, losing our attic space, emptying our garage and losing a bay in the process. Where to put the stuff and how to find it again were just two of the stresses encountered. We chose to hire a project manager, so hiring of all the subs was his problem, but we stressed and sweated over every decision. In fact, most veterans of a remodeling project will tell you that the two key qualities you need to survive a home project are the ability to make decisions and spend money—fast.

If you’re indecisive or wildly controlling when it comes to finances, better take a relaxation class. Like to cook in your own kitchen and sleep in your own bed? Well, you’d better plan how you’re going to stay in your home while the work is being done and what facilities you will need to live without. One of our colleagues just moved the kitchen out to the patio for the summer. They ate off the grill and stored all refrigerated and pantry items in the garage. Their main stress was weather! So, you like your morning coffee and a chance to get the kids or yourself on the road? Forget it—during a house remodel, your schedule begins at 7 a.m. with the builders. Sick? Too bad. I had the flu and had to give up my bedroom because they were working in there. Oh, and I HAD to pick my fixtures right away, flu or no flu. Funny, that bath was a week late being installed. Why did they need my choices that day?

Remember back when you had work and a life? Well, during remodeling, the house becomes your work and your life. I’m getting stressed just writing this. Oh, did I mention the errors or “disappointments,” like the lovely golden paint color that came out some shade of Band-Aid®, the stairs that weren’t supposed to have noses, the doors that don’t block sound and the garage door that sounds like the depot downtown? Don’t like to communicate? Well, forget that. You’ll have to find as many ways to explain the layout you want as there are words for snow in Eskimo. But, in the end, whether you are your own contractor or the boss, the silence, beauty and new space are entirely worth it once it’s done. So, sign up for a yoga class, get sleep now and start planning for your remodel. At the very least, book a massage for yourself along the way.

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