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Instagram Builder’s Challenge…Porch Bench 

This season of the Instagram Builder’s challenge, contestants had to build their versions of a porch bench using plans created by Ana White.  This was my second time joining the challenge.  My first challenge was back in October where my idols Clint Harp and Shant2Chic were judges and I won 1st place!  To say I was on cloud nine for a while is an understatement.  To read about that, click here for the blog post.

For those that don’t know, the Instagram Builder’s Challenge is a building/woodworking contest on Instagram. Each participant signs up with instructions given by the host. When the sign up window ends, each participant is then emailed the same plans. The contestants have a specified amount of time to finish the build and post their submission in picture form on their Instagram accounts with the hashtag #igbc2 or whatever hashtag is designated by the host. The beauty of this challenge is that although the participant gets the same plans to build from, each entry is a representation of the submitter because the challenge encourages you to modify the plans within reason, add details, hardware etc. to your liking. But, the judges must be able to tell that you built your piece using the plans that were given. 

This season’s build, as said above, was a porch bench with X detail originally created by one of the judges, Ana White (www.ana-white.com).  For the original plans, click here or the link above. 

My approach was to modify the X detail on the back of the bench. See my process below. 

The frame of the bench.  The arms are not attached yet.

The frame without the arms below. The arms aren’t attached yet because the seat planks aren’t installed.  It was best to wait to attach the seat planks so that it would be easier to screw them into the base without the arms in the way.

Next I started on my detail.  I wanted to go with some version of the X detail, but make it more interesting.

After sanding for what seemed like hours, it was time to put on the finish. Since the base of the bench was going to be stained a different color than the detail, I used painters tape to tape off the areas of the back details that came in contact with the base of the bench. 

I always use wood conditioner before I stain any of my pieces.  It makes the stain come out even with out those blotchy spots. 


I stained the base with Minwax special walnut 


The top bars of the the intricate X detail is stained with Minwax ebony 


And the X detail is just painted with some white chalk paint.  And that’s it! 

I gifted this bench to my parents, and they loved it!

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