Simple Outdoor Dining Bench

Submitted by Ana White on Thu, 04/23/2020 - 20:27
Difficulty
Beginner
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Build your own dining bench - matches the Simple Modern Outdoor Table

diy bench plans

This easy to build DIY bench can be used alone, or pair with our matching modern outdoor dining table

diy dining table

This plan has been updated.  The original plans are available here.

Dimensions
modern outdoor bench plans
Dimensions shown in diagram

Preparation

Shopping List

Shopping List is Per 1 Bench

  • 2 - 2x4 @ 8 feet long
  • 2 - 1x4 @ 8 feet long
  • 20 - 2-1/2" long exterior screws (look for the star bit ones)
  • 50 - 1-1/2" long exterior screws (look for the star bit ones)
Cut List
  • 2 - 2x4 @ 12-7/8" - Frame ends
  • 2 - 2x4 @ 44-1/2" - Frame sides
  • 4 - 2x4 @ 17-1/4" - Legs
  • 12 - 1x4 @ 15-7/8" - Bench Slats

Tools
Tape Measure
Speed Square
Pencil
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection

Instructions

Step 1

Build the basic frame for the bench with the longer screws.  The cut list is correct with the ends at 12-7/8".

Adjust the frame for square by taking opposite diagonal measurements and making sure the two opposite diagonals match.  

Step 2

Screw the legs to the frame with the longer screws.  

Step 3

Lay the slats out on top with a 1/2" gap in between.

Screw down with the shorter screws.

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Comments

Steve S (not verified)

Sat, 07/09/2011 - 13:12

I just got about 3/4 of the way through finishing this project, sat on it, and the legs immediately tore off ripping some of the wood to shreds after I shifted my weight on it a little (and I'm not that heavy).
I see in some of the photos people have "doubled up" on the legs, squaring them off on both sides of each corner instead of just one - looks like that's probably the way to go if you don't want this collapsing on you.
I'm hoping mine didn't get tore up so badly that it can't be salvaged, but we'll see.

claydowling

Sat, 07/09/2011 - 14:11

There are tricks to attaching legs with screws. You need to use regular wood screws to do it, #8 at minimum, #10 or #12 would be ideal. Drywall or deck screws will fail exactly as you described.

You also need to pre-drill and countersink the holes. It is easy with the counter-sinks to be deluded into thinking that the drill bit provided is sufficient for your pre-drilling. That is definitely untrue. The hole you drill for the shaft should be as big around as the shaft of the screw, minus the depth of the threads.

The joint also needs to be extremely tight. There can't be any wiggle room or visible gaps, or it will fail.

These are all lessons learned from hard experience.

Guest (not verified)

Sun, 07/24/2011 - 19:25

one thing I found when I first sat on it was that the slats bowed down while the sides of the bench top did not. I fixed this by screwing the inside and outside boards of the frame (the blue and green boards in the first construction picture above) together.

I did this by cutting eight spacers from 1x3 boards 2 inches wide. I spaced these out evenly, four on each side of the frame, between the two boards and placed four scres (two outside and two inside) of each spacer.

This helped make it so it didn't bow.

Brvogt

Wed, 08/10/2011 - 22:49

I'm planning on making this to go with my simple table, but I am going to adjust it so I can do the legs the same as the table. I think the 2x4 legs will be sturdier for my family... And I'm already familiar with the other plan! Thanks Ana for giving me the courage to experiment!

Sharon L (not verified)

Thu, 09/08/2011 - 17:05

Nope! You screw down into the aprons, and then fill the holes with putty

Steve S (not verified)

Thu, 09/08/2011 - 18:02

I tried this with the matching table I built last fall - recessed screwed and then filled in the holes with wood putty. Didn't do the job - the wood and/or putty expanded or otherwise didn't live through the winter season and by spring it was all either falling out or sticking up over the surface of the table. Swore if I built it again I would use the pocket hole method.

claydowling

Fri, 09/09/2011 - 05:22

If you predrill and countersink your screws, you can glue a dowel into the hole and then cut it off with a flush-cut saw.

Steve S (not verified)

Fri, 09/09/2011 - 05:48

Yes, after the trouble I had with the putty someone else recommended this and I re-drilled everything so I could glue a bit of 1/4" dowel in there instead. Still doesn't look *perfect*, but it's much better than it looked before. With the dowels I also had trouble with the wood expanding with the weather for a while so I found myself going back to it a couple of times to smooth things out again, and also a 1/4" spade bit (at least in my hands) doesn't cut a perfectly symmetrical 1/4" hole so many of the dowels have tiny gaps between the dowel and the outside wood, but it's not very noticeable. It's probably the best solution to fix the problem I created by countersinking from above instead of using pocket holes from underneath, but if I were starting this project new, I would *definitely* go with pocket holes (BTW Kreg isn't the only brand that makes pocket hole jigs, but does appear to be the only brand that consistently gets good reviews from owners).

claydowling

Fri, 09/09/2011 - 06:36

A spade bit is a pretty crude instrument, and I try to avoid using them. I have found that because they're made of tool steel, they do make excellent blades for marking knives. A little work with a grinder and my whet stones and I've got a first-rate blade.

I'd recommend picking up brad-point drills, which hold position much better. You can spend a fair bit of money for good ones, or you can buy a cheap Chinese set for not much as all. I bought a cheap Chinese set because it came with a nice metal case, and in time the bits will be replaced with good North American tooling.

You might also consider buying regular countersink drill bits. I found them to be useful.