Monday, August 15th, 2011...17:16

Bench Building

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Sometimes my DIY ethos gets the best of me, case in point being the need for a bench so we could host 7 guests at a BBQ in our back yard last month. For less than $50, and probably an hour of my time I could have built one with a bench kit and a bunch of 2x4s. Instead I decided to design my own which ended up costing twice as much and probably took 10 times longer :S.

With rough target dimensions of 18″ high, 12″ wide and 6′ in length, I went to our local Home Depot to check out the available lumber and cost. One of the many things in my life classifiable as “obvious but overlooked” is wood density varies by species. This became readily apparent after picking up a piece of Poplar, deciding it didn’t look nice and then picking up the same size piece of Oak which weighed twice as much.

After walking around and around searching for light wood that looked nice and would fit in the car without having to run down an employee to cut it down to size, I ended up with Redwood. An additional upside with Redwood is its resistance to insects, fungi and fire. A downside is its additional cost. I mitigated that by using some rough cut fence pickets in on the underside of the seating area which were 1/4 the price of the nicely finished planks.

Here’s a photo of the raw wood, 4 finished 1×6 boards, 3 1×6 fence pickets, 1 4×4 post and 3 2×2 posts (I actually ended up not using one of the 2×2 posts).

Raw Pieces

And here is a photo of all the pieces of wood cut down to size.

Pieces Cut to Size

Here are the assembled “legs”.


This is a shot of the legs and seating area cross supports getting attached to the fence pickets.

Attaching Legs and Cross Supports

And here are a few shots of the finished product.

Finished 2

Finished 1

Finished 3

If I had to do it over I probably would have spent more for 2x6s instead of layered 1x6s for the seating area mainly for aesthetic reasons i.e. I wouldn’t have had to use so many visible screws. Other than that, the bench has performed well, having been used 3 times with no casualties.

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