This handsome, sturdy bench can be used either inside or out-of-doors. It would be attractive in an entry hall, or on a front or back porch, or even in a child’s room. I painted mine a bright red to match my entry door, but it would also be pretty with a stain finish or if left natural with just a wood sealer applied. The finished bench is 46-1/2” wide, 36” tall, and 16 inches deep.
• 3 pieces laminated 1 x 4 pine:
• 2 pieces 14” x 36”
• 1 piece 16” x 46-1/2”
• (OR 44 linear feet 1 x 4 pine)
• 25 linear feet 1 x 4 pine
• 13 linear feet 1 x 6 pine
• Approx. 100 #6 x 1-1/4” flathead wood screws
• Approx. 50 #6 x 2-1/4” flathead wood screws
Special Tools and Techniques
• 2 or 3 heavy-duty bar clamps (optional)
Notes on the Materials
Both the sides and the seat of this bench are constructed from laminated 1 x 4 pine boards. Most building-supply stores sell sections of pine that have already been laminated. If you want to laminate the boards yourself, you need 44 linear feet of 1 x 4 pine and at least two heavy-duty bar clamps.
Making the Bench Sides
1. If you purchased pine that is already laminated, simply cut two pieces, each 14 x 36 inches, making two sides (A). Then skip down to Step 4.
2. If you want to laminate the boards yourself, cut four lengths from 1 x 4 pine, each 36 inches long. To ensure a solid bond in the lamination process, it is a good idea to rip a minuscule amount from each edge to be joined before gluing the wood lengths together. Place the boards side-by-side, and wipe glue on the adjoining 36”-long edges. Then clamp the four boards together using at least two bar clamps. (Refer to the “Tips and Techniques” section on the home page if you need assistance with clamping procedures.) Leave the assembly clamped for at least 24 hours. You now have one side (A) measuring 14 x 36 inches.
3. Repeat Step 2 to laminate the second side (A)
4. The top edge of each side (A) is then cut in a curve according to the pattern shown in Figure 1. Enlarge the pattern and trace it onto the top of both laminated sides. Then, following the pattern lines, cut the curves.
Making the Back
The back of the bench consists of eight lengths of 1 x 6 pine that are set side by side vertically and sandwiched–top and bottom–between two horizontal 1 x 4 pine boards.
1. Cut eight vertical back pieces (B) from 1 x 6 pine, each 19 inches long.
2. Figure 2 shows the decorative pattern that is cut in each vertical back piece (B). Enlarge the pattern, trace it onto one of the vertical back pieces (B), and cut the board along the pattern lines. Use the resulting cut board to mark the same pattern on each of the remaining seven vertical back pieces (B). Be sure to use the first board you cut as the pattern for each subsequent back piece so that the resulting cuts will all be the same.
3. Sand each of the vertical back pieces (B) now because it will be difficult to sand them after the back is assembled.
4. Cut four horizontal back pieces (C) from 1 x 4 pine, each 45 inches long.
5. Set two of the horizontal back pieces (C) on a level work surface placing them parallel to each other and with the inside edges 12 inches apart.
6. Lay the eight vertical back pieces (B) evenly spaced on top of the horizontal back pieces (C). As shown in Figure 3, the ends of the verticals (B) should be flush with the outer edges of the horizontals (C).
7. Attach the vertical back pieces (B) to the two horizontals (C) using glue and 1-1/4”-long screws. One screw in each end of each of the verticals (B) should be sufficient.
8. Place the remaining two horizontal back pieces (C) on top of the assembly, making sure to align them with the horizontals already attached. As shown in Figure 4, the verticals (B) are now sandwiched between the horizontals (C). Glue and screw the two unattached horizontal back pieces in place using eight 1-1/4”-long screws for each horizontal board. Place one screw over the center of each end of each of the verticals (B).
Making the Seat
1. If you purchased pine that is already laminated, simply cut one piece 16 x 46-1/2 inches making the seat (D). Then skip down to Step 4.
2. If you want to laminate the boards yourself, cut five pieces from 1 x 4 pine, each 46-1/2” long. Rip a minuscule amount from each edge to be joined, and place the boards side-by-side. Wipe glue on the adjoining edges, and clamp the five boards together using at least two bar clamps. Leave the assembly clamped for a minimum of 24 hours.
3. Rip one edge of the laminated assembly to make the overall width 16 inches. You now have one seat (D) measuring 16 x 46 inches.
4. Next, as shown in Figure 5, cut a notch ¾” deep and 14 inches long on each end of the seat (D). To provide the most support, position the 46-1/2”-long front of the seat on the edge that still retains a full-width board (the non-ripped edge).
Attaching the Seat
1. Cut one 13-1/4”-long seat support (E) from 1 x 4 pine.
2. Measure 16 inches from the bottom of one side (A), and attach the seat support (E) as shown in Figure 6. It should fit flush at the back edge and ¾” from the front edge of the side (A). Use glue and four or five 1-1/4” screws, screwing through the seat support (E) into the side (A).
3. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 to cut and attach a second seat support (E) to the remaining side (A). The seat supports (E) are both on the inside of the bench, so make certain that the two sides (A) with seat supports (E) attached are mirror images of each other.
4. Cut one 43-1/2”-long center support (F) from 1 x 4 pine.
5. This next step will require some assistance from a couple of helpers. (If assistants are not available, use bar clamps to help with this assembly.) Place the two side assemblies so that the attached seat supports (E) are facing each other. As shown in Figure 7, place the center support (F) between the two seat supports (E), 4 inches from what will be the back of the completed bench. Use glue and two 2-1/4”-long screws on each end of the center support (F). Screw through the side assembly, through the seat support (E), and into the corner support (F). Don’t worry if the result is rather wobbly at this point. It will be reinforced in the next step.
6. Cut one 45”-long front support (G) form 1 x 4 pine. Position it across the front of the bench and attach it to the exposed ends of the seat supports (E). Use glue and two 1x 1-4”-long screws at each end of the front support (G).
7. Place the seat (D) on top of the seat supports (E), center support (F), and front support (G). Note that the longer 46-1/2” edge fits across the front, and that it overlaps the sides (A), as shown in Figure 8. Glue and screw the seat in place using 1-1/4”-long screws. Screw through the seat (D) into the supports (E, F, and G), placing one screw about every 4 or 5 inches. Countersink all of the screws.
Adding the Back
- Carefully fit the back assembly between the two sides (A). As shown in Figure 8, the back assembly should fit flush with the top of both the sides
- Glue and screw the back assembly in place. Screw through each side (A) into the back assembly, using three or four 2-1/4”-long screws at both the top and bottom. Countersink the screws.
1. Fill any exposed screw holes with wood filler.
2. Sand the completed bench.
3. Stain or paint the finished bench in the color of your choice. If you plan to use it outside, be sure to use exterior-grade finishing materials.