Definitive Guide to Building a Simple Bench

Building your own furniture can be especially satisfying. Not only will it make you feel accomplished, but it will also allow you to personalize the project to your preferences. To build a simple DIY bench, you’ll need a few basic skills, some tools, and the right materials.

Skills Required

You don’t have to be an expert woodworker to make an easy DIY bench. After all, a simple bench just involves five pieces: four legs and a single long seat. The skills required to make a simple bench include knowing how to use a table saw, a pocket hole jig, glue, and screws. If you want to paint the bench, then make sure that you’re comfortable with that task. You may also need to be ready to do some sanding if you purchase raw wood.

Materials

The materials needed for a simple bench include:

Wood

If you’re going to place your bench outside, then you'll want to select a durable type of wood like acacia, cedar, or cypress. Acacia is a great choice because of its sustainability, but cedar is a better option if you intend to stain or paint your bench. Cypress wood will hold up against the elements without a finish. However, it will look better for a longer period if you take the time to oil it.

Table Saw

A table saw allows you to quickly and easily cut wood sections for furniture items. There are many different options available. They range from cabinet table saws to contractor and jobsite table saws.

Pocket Hole Jig

A pocket hole jig will make it easy for you to combine two pieces of wood.

Glue

The best glue for your bench depends on factors like strength, drying time, and materials. You should also consider whether you need a waterproof connection. Glue options include polyvinyl acetate, epoxy based, and polyurethane.

Screws

Purchase premium or multipurpose screws for your bench. Also, buy screws that feature a flat head. This type of screw will be easier to use, and it will hold your bench together securely.

Sandpaper or a Sander

When it’s time to sand your bench, start with a medium- or low-grit sandpaper. This type of sandpaper will allow you to remove any remaining finish from the wood. It is also rough enough to even out imperfections. Then, use medium-grit sandpaper to smooth out the entire bench. When sanding, move with the wood grain.

Paint or Apply a Finish

If you want to keep your bench looking natural, apply a finish like a clear polyurethane to it. If you’re using it to brighten up an area, then paint it with a low-luster or high-gloss paint. These are types of paint that dry fast and adhere well.

Choosing a Size

Regardless of whether you decide to build an indoor or outdoor bench, there are standard sizes to consider. For instance, a backless bench’s standard height is from 18 inches to 20 inches. If you decide to construct one with a back, then the average height ranges from 30 inches to 36 inches.

The depth of your bench should run from 15 inches to 20 inches. This depth will allow a person to rest on it comfortably. Depending on the type of seating that you choose, the standard length for a bench will vary. In most cases, a two-seat bench should measure from 42 inches to 52 inches wide, while a three-seat bench requires from 53 inches to 80 inches of width, and a four-seat bench needs to be 81 inches to 96 inches wide.

When choosing what size to build, consider where you’ll be placing it and what its main purpose will be. For instance, if you’re placing it in your home’s entryway to make it easy for people to take their shoes on and off, then you might prefer a smaller DIY bench seat with no back. However, if you’re building it to enjoy your garden, then you’ll probably want to make a bench with a back that can hold several people.

Choosing a Bench Style

If this is the first bench that you’re making, then you might want to choose a simple design such as one that features only a base section and four legs. DIY bench ideas also include designs that are more modern. To create a modern bench, build one with slatted boards. This type of bench mimics the mid-century modern style.

If you’re comfortable with DIY furniture building projects and need something for storage, consider making a shoe storage bench. This style features a top where people can sit and cubbies underneath with space for bins or baskets. You can use these containers for shoes or other household items.

If you need something to sit on outside in your garden, then make a bench with a back. This bench style will be more comfortable for hours spent enjoying your flowers and any wildlife that may wander into your garden. You can build a simple garden bench that includes only a seat and a back, or you can add arms to the bench to make it even more comfortable.

How to Make a Simple Bench Step by Step

How do you make a bench? These steps will help you make the right bench for your needs.

  • Step 1: Cut the wood.
  • Step 2: Drill the pocket holes.
  • Step 3: Form the bench layout.
  • Step 4: Glue and screw the wood pieces together.
  • Step 5: Sand the bench.
  • Step 6: Paint it, or apply the finish.

Cut the Wood

Start by cutting the bench top to your planned width. Use a table saw for this step. At this time, you’ll also want to cut the bench’s length and additional pieces for the legs.

Drill the Pocket Holes

With a pocket hole jig, drill holes at the end of the bottom section. Then, drill holes in the attachment pieces. These are the ones that you’ll be using to connect the legs to the seat.

Form the Bench Layout

Form the simple DIY bench layout by placing the legs in sets. Make sure that the leg angles are positioned out in separate directions. Also, measure where you’ll be connecting the legs and mark these sections. Drill the holes, and countersink them.

Glue and Screw the Pieces Together

Use glue and screws to connect the attachment pieces to the leg tops. Then, connect the attachment pieces and legs to the seat base.

Sand the Bench

You’ll want to make sure that the bench is smooth and comfortable for people to sit on. Use sandpaper or a sander for this step.

Paint or Apply a Finish

Decide what kind of finish you want. If you want a natural-looking bench, then apply polyurethane to the finished furniture. If you intend to paint the bench, then be sure to buy a type of paint that doesn’t require a primer.

DIY Bench Ideas

These DIY bench ideas will guide you through the building process and help you choose the best size for the piece. A homemade bench can be just the right size and style to suit your home since you'll be the one in charge of customizing it. For help or to purchase the equipment that you need to make your bench, visit us at True Value.