While working at a client’s house last year, I noticed a curious little bench about 19” high, 24” long, and 12” wide. It had an elongated hole thru the top that looked like a handle. When I askedabout it, I was told it was a shoe-shine bench that could be carried around by the lid, which could then be removed to access the contents within. Unfortunately, the top had been screwed on permanently at some point, so it was impossible to tell how exactly the top could be used as a handle and then removed. I liked the proportions of the bench, so I decided to make one.
For this bench, the legs are notched to accept the side panels, which are screwed and plugged. Inside, I attached a cleat to the legs and side panels to hold the shelf. To attach the top, I glued and screwed blocks of wood to the underside of the top that would sit just inside the outer panels. Then I bored a 5/8” hole thru the panel and blocks from the same point on either side. I took 5/8” dowel and inserted it into the hole from one side. At first, the fit was too snug to get the dowel to pass thru to the other side, but with a dozen or so passes of the block plane, I managed to get a good fit that could easily be moved with a firm push of a finger. Lastly, I bored a few holes thru the top and connected them at the edges to make the handle hold. The bench was painted with one coat of orange and one coat of black milk paint and then buffed with tinted wax.