Vintage Tailgate Benches

Project by Skidog posted 06-02-2013 08:57 PM 40821 views 18 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My wife saw one of these on facebook I believe and ask me if I could build one. I went to EBAY and found a tailgate on bought it. (Big Mistake, EXPENSIVE on that site!) I printed out the pic of the one she saw and commenced to gathering materials. It happened to be a ‘Stepside’ size for my first project. I built it like the one in the picture and sold it right away! However, the buyer had some modifications he wanted done. Well that ended up with a complete frame rebuild. I have now what I think is a perfected design now. Over this past Christmas holiday, I built and sold 19 of these! Talk about saving Christmas! And my only 2 forms of advertising…...Facebook and word of mouth. All free! Its now time to find some more tailgates for Fathers Day!:)

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8 posts in 2630 days

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20 comments so far

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


447 posts in 2979 days

posted 06-04-2013 11:38 AM

That bench if awesome! Wonderful character. Very well done. That’s for sharing!

-- Working on my home for 2 years and counting.

View ToolBoxJunkie's profile


2 posts in 2626 days

posted 06-06-2013 01:20 PM

I love that idea!!! I think it would be a wonderful idea for a fathers day gift for my father-in law. He owns a body shop and would dig this. I would love to build one for him. Can you clue me in on how you attached the tail gate to the frame?

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8 posts in 2630 days

posted 06-06-2013 04:16 PM

I just sold one today for a Fathers Day present. I don’t really have a master plan except for the one thats in my head. I’ve built so many of them that I pretty much know all the measurements without going to any plans. So with that being said, I’ll try and walk you through it.
If building a stepside size, the total length is 50 3/4” and the full size is 67”. This could vary slightly because of the length of the tailgates of different brands. Generally the total length of the finished bench is the max width of the tailgate itself. Some older gates have the metal tabs on each end to accommodate the locking chain and hook. I don’t count that as the max width of the tailgate. The front legs are 24” tall and the back legs are 36’’ tall. The back legs are tapered to allow the tailgate to be at an angle instead of straight up & down. This provides greater comfort when sitting. The front rail is the exact length of the tailgate and the back rail is 7” less. On the bottoms of the legs,cut a 45 degree angle on all 4 sides up about 3/4”. This allows you to slide the bench around without any tearout resulting at the bottom if it catches on something.
The bottom of the front and rear rails is 10” from the floor if you elect to use 2×6 rails, or 12” if using 2×4 rails. I have used both, and really 2×4 is plenty strong enough.this provide perfect seat height. The rails front to back are 21” long and I generally put a 21” support in the middle of the bench too. measure from the bottom of the front 24” posts and mount the long front rail to them, making sure everything is square.The posts should be exactly the length apart as the rail is long.(Hope this makes sense) Attach the 21” pieces to the INSIDE of the front posts, and attach the back rail to the ends of those. Screw everything securely.
Now cut the angle on the back posts. I use a 4’ level for this as my guide. I mark on the back post where the exact height of the seat is. From there, I scribe a line from that point to the top of the back posts and leave the thickness of the level at the top of the posts. This will give you some thickness to attach the tailgate to. After the frame is completed, I use 5/4 Treated decking boards for the seat. Usually takes 5 8’ boards. The arm rests are out of 5/4 boards too. I don’t use photobucket to upload pictures so if you’d like, you can reach me thru email and I’ll be glad to email you pics of a bench project.

View ToolBoxJunkie's profile


2 posts in 2626 days

posted 06-06-2013 05:52 PM

How do you attach the arms to the tailgate, and the tailgate to the frame?

View one1inamill's profile


1 post in 2614 days

posted 06-18-2013 01:49 PM

interesting project. how did you attach the arms to the back and the tailgate to the bench? I would be willing to buy a how to video of the project as I learn better from watching.

View Skidog's profile


8 posts in 2630 days

posted 06-18-2013 05:30 PM

I screw the tailgate at the bottom and top to the back bench posts. As far as the armrests, once I get the armrests level, I mark the tailgate with a pencil at the top and bottoms of the armrest. Then I drill a small pilot hole dead center of where the armrests will be at level point in the tailgate. Run a screw into the backside of the armrest from the backside of the tailgate.
BTW, I’ve got no videos of this project.

View woodworker4life's profile


2 posts in 2614 days

posted 06-18-2013 06:55 PM

My wife loves this. You offered to send another poster extra pics of this bench project If I email you, would you mind sending them to me? If you don’t mind sharing them with me, how do I find your email or how do I send you my email? (I’m new here & don’t know how to find or share emails yet.) Thanks

View Skidog's profile


8 posts in 2630 days

posted 06-19-2013 01:18 AM

Just post your email here and I’ll send you what I sent him

View woodworker4life's profile


2 posts in 2614 days

posted 06-19-2013 03:56 PM

Thank you. 4usmiracles @ gmail. com I put spaces in my email just in case.

View Welder's profile


1 post in 2546 days

posted 08-25-2013 04:55 PM

Hi there, awesome job on the benches. Looking to make a few myself except I’ll make the frames out of metal. I was wondering where you find all the old tailgates. Like you said eBay is expensive and salvage yards don’t often stock the older stuff and when they do they want as much as eBay. Thanks, David

View jim1953's profile


26 posts in 3894 days

posted 12-06-2013 04:35 AM

Great Lookin Bench

View Skidog's profile


8 posts in 2630 days

posted 02-14-2014 02:44 PM

Junkyards are the only places I go now, unless I see one on ebay that I absolutely have to have!.

View gmc14's profile


1 post in 2007 days

posted 02-15-2015 06:32 PM

can you send me more pics want to make for a family reunion .like dimenisions [email protected]

View dbray45's profile


157 posts in 2311 days

posted 02-18-2015 02:58 PM

Seriously cool – good job

-- Love woodworking and fixing most anything

View Skidog's profile


8 posts in 2630 days

posted 02-18-2015 03:14 PM

A few more I have done recently.

View Skidog's profile


8 posts in 2630 days

posted 02-18-2015 03:16 PM

can you send me more pics want to make for a family reunion .like dimenisions [email protected]

- gmc14

The benches vary in size according to the length of the tailgates. They are all 22 1/2” deep.

View TinWoody's profile


1 post in 1815 days

posted 08-26-2015 01:28 PM

Hi I have a full size tailgate and one from a S-10 do you have plans for them ?could I get your email ? Thanks Mike

View Dennismon's profile


7 posts in 1606 days

posted 03-30-2016 04:04 AM

It is always better to seek expert advice before rebuilding or refurbishing your home and I consider the posts that are shared here on the site as expert ones. Thank you for sharing these interesting and superb posts. Keep up the good work guys
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View HarpendenSanders's profile


2 posts in 1598 days

posted 03-31-2016 10:46 AM

This is really creative idea :) Well done

-- Always pay attention for the details! www.floorsandingharpenden.co.uk

View Rachelh's profile


1 post in 446 days

posted 05-27-2019 09:32 AM

I really appreciate the idea behind this project. All the benches are looking are very beautiful. They are very useful and it enhances the beauty of the home and garden. We can prepare it in different designs using different types of wood. I like to learn about new ideas for home and offices so that we can apply to our place. This website has many beautiful and new ideas for making home and different accessories. Professionally, I am a writer and I have written several articles and blogs. In the starting days of my career, cheap writing service guided me a lot.

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