April 17, 2010

Very Simple Recycled Wood Bench

I wanted to build a simple bench for the front porch of my house. Brett (@belahm) talked me out of making a backrest for the bench to keep things simple. Also, I wanted to keep costs down as much as possible, so I used recycled wood from Nebraska Ecostores, with very good results. The bench did need a few bolts and a box of screws, so after a quick trip to Menard's I had everything I needed to get to work.

The most notable part of this bench was its microscopic cost. The wood cost around $6 for eight weathered 2 x 4s - not bad at all. Throw in a few dollars for screws and bolts and the entire project cost me under $10. The bench was a very easy build - the steps are below.

The legs took a bit of thought, but after looking at a few different options, I went with angled legs and bolted them together in the middle.
  1. Cut 4 boards to 2' long segments.
  2. Mark a line 2" from each end of each board. Draw a line between the corner of the board and the corner that is made with the edge of the board and the line. Shown in the first picture below.
  3. Cut the boards along the lines so the ends are parallel with each other.
  4. Lay the boards down in an "X" against a flat edge. Press a board against the other ends of the legs. Make sure all ends of the legs are flush and straight. Shown in the second picture below.
  5. Drill a hole through the intersection of the two legs. Since I am using 3/8" bolts, I used a 3/8" bit. Be sure to drill through the first leg and start on the second leg. You can finish the second leg separately.
  6. Bolt the two legs together. Tighten the bolt making sure that the legs are flat on the ground. Be sure to use washers with the bolts (I forgot). Shown in the third picture below.

Bench Top
Simplicity is key here. Based on the span of the legs, the top of the bench may need to grow or shrink by a board or too. Steps to build the top are described below.
  1. Cut 5 boards (4 for the top and one for a lip to cover the front) to 3'6".
  2. Lay 4 boards down side by side to form the top. Square them against a straight edge. Lay the sides for the top face down on the floor.
  3. Cut 3 boards to 14". These will be used to hold the top together.
  4. Lay the 3 boards equidistant from each other across the 4 boards.
  5. Put a screw into each board on each cross board (12 screws total)
Bench Assembly
This was the trickiest part of the whole process. Try to get as many screws into the legs without going through the top.
  1. Keep the top of the bench face down on the floor and place the legs on each end of the bench.
  2. Drive 4 screws (one in each leg) at on angle so they go through the leg and into the top of the bench.
  3. Drill 2 more screws (one on each side) through the inner leg on each side into the cross boards. The underside of the bench in shown in the image below. The legs are flush with the top supports. Drilling into this will provide more stability.
  4. Add a support beam between each set of legs. Drilling from the outside of the legs into the beam will provide a lot of stability.
  5. Add a quick piece of trim to the front of the bench to hide the supports. The trim is on the right side of the bench in the image below.
Enjoy the finished product!
That completes the very simple bench. Flip it over and take it for a test sit. It is a very sturdy bench that supports over 500 lbs. Pictures of the finished product are shown below. It's a great addition to our front porch.


  1. Still standing today!

    <3 Ecostore <3

  2. It's half Menard's and half garage sale. Ecostores is a great place to find stuff for unique home remodeling. We also picked up some tile for a table-top. Should have that finished by the end of the month.

    The store has an impressive collection of doors, and I want to make a desk once things slow down a little.
    DIY Door Desk