Renovator converts tailgates to backyard centerpieces

Jason Stevens uses truck tailgates from the 1940s through the 1960s to build retro-looking benches. (Courtesy Christine Stevens)

Jason Stevens uses truck tailgates from the 1940s through the 1960s to build retro-looking benches. This Willy’s Jeep bench is listed at $725. (Courtesy Christine Stevens)

There’s a new option for homeowners that want a vintage-looking bench but aren’t feeling those ubiquitous lounge chairs crafted from retired skis and snowboards.

Jason Stevens has been using old truck tailgates – specifically ones from the 1940s through the 1960s – to build retro-looking benches.

His wife, Chris, first spotted the idea on Pinterest. Jason thought he could add to the concept with reclaimed lumber to improve on the rustic look. The couple sold their first benches 15 months ago.

Chris said tailgates at least 50 years old are the perfect size for a two-person bench. And customers like the vintage look.

“A lot of younger families have been buying them for their yards because they like the vintage charm of the older tailgates,” Chris said.

This Ford bench is on sale for $600. Other truck brands used include GMC, Chevrolet, Dodge and International Harvester. (Courtesy Christine Stevens)

This Ford bench is on sale for $600. Other truck brands used include GMC, Chevrolet, Dodge and International Harvester. (Courtesy Christine Stevens)

Prices for the benches vary depending on how much the couple pays for tailgates at junkyards. They are currently selling a Ford bench for $600 and a Jeep Willys one for $725. Other truck brands Jason has turned into benches include GMC, Chevrolet, Dodge and International Harvester.

While just a side project of Stevens’ business, Stevens Renovation, he can often kill two birds with one stone when searching for lumber. He sources most of the reclaimed lumber for the benches and for Stevens Renovation at estate sales. Among the company’s recent projects is the Larimer Beer Hall in the Ballpark neighborhood, where Jason installed barn wood siding and piping.

“We’re the people out in the yards and by the garages during estate sales,” Chris said.

Stevens Renovation started in 2004 as a remodeling contractor business.

The couple sells the benches via word-of-mouth and on Craigslist.

Chris also hopes to list the benches via her page on Etsy, a peer-to-peer online market for handmade and vintage items. She has been selling vintage clothing, glassware, books and household items on it since last year.  

“At some point as we grow, there’s potential to go on Etsy with the benches,” Chris said.

Jason Stevens uses truck tailgates from the 1940s through the 1960s to build retro-looking benches. (Courtesy Christine Stevens)

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