All of the parts for this project are cut from standard pine boards, so you don't need to haul big sheets of plywood home or worry about finishing exposed plywood edges. You do need to choose your lumber carefully, though. The wide pine planks tend to cup and warp, so look for boards that are flat and straight. And plan to build the project soon after buying the lumber. If you leave the lumber sitting around for weeks, it may begin to warp or twist.
Start by choosing the four straightest, best-looking 1x12s for the shelf sides. Cut these to 72 in. Then use the Cutting List to cut the remaining parts (Photo 1). If you're lucky enough to own a sliding miter saw, you can use it to cut the parts to length. Otherwise a circular saw will work fine. The boards for three sides of the bench and one of the bench bottoms have to be ripped a little narrower. You can use a circular saw or table saw for this. After cutting the lumber, sand it with 100-grit sandpaper to remove any marks and smooth out any ripples left from the milling process. A random orbital sander works great for this, but you could hand-sand if you don't own a power sander.
We joined the parts with 2-in. trimhead screws, recessing them slightly to make room for the wood filler. But you can substitute regular screws if you don't mind the look of screw heads. Even though our screws had self-drilling tips, for extra insurance against splitting the wood we drilled 1/8-in. pilot holes for the screws.
Clamping the parts together before you drive in the screws makes it easier to keep the parts aligned. And if the wood is a little twisted or cupped, you can flatten it with clamps before driving the screws. We also added three cleats to the bottom of the seat board to hold it flat. Spread wood glue on these cleats and attach them with 1-1/4-in. screws.
We chose a continuous hinge for the lid. Cut the hinge to 35-5/8 in. with a hacksaw. Since you'll also have to cut all the metal shelf standards to fit, buy a sharp, new 32-tooth blade. Photo 6 shows how to attach the hinge. Finish up the assembly by cutting and attaching the metal shelf standards (Photo 7).
Rest the shelf on the ledger. Drive a screw through the top hanging strip into a stud. Then use a level to make sure the sides of the shelf unit are plumb. If necessary, push the bottom one way or the other to plumb the sides. Drive a screw through the lower hanging strip into a stud to secure the shelf unit.
Use two-part connector bolts to connect the front of the bench to the shelves on each side (connect the second side later after the second shelf is mounted). These bolts provide more support than screws to ensure the bench will be safe to sit on. The bolts we used required two Allen wrenches to tighten.
First, locate the wall studs. An electronic stud finder makes it easy. Mark the stud locations with strips of masking tape. Now choose a position for the project that will allow you to attach each of the 12-in.-wide shelf units to at least one stud. Next, screw the temporary 1x2 ledger to the studs, making sure it's level and the top is located 7-1/2 in. from the floor (Photo 8). The ledger supports the shelf units and bench while you attach them to the wall. Photos 9 – 13 show the installation steps. Finish up by choosing the locations for the adjustable shelves and installing them with the shelf clips. We prefinished the project with Behr Semi-Transparent Waterproofing Wood Stain.