4x4 Truss Benches

Submitted by Ana White on Wed, 10/02/2013 - 10:37
Difficulty
Intermediate
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Free plans to build a beam bench from ana-white.com

Hi everyone! 

I'm so excited today to share with you brand new plans!

Remember a little while back when I teamed up with Shanty2Chic to get you plans for this truss table?

And we promised you bench plans were coming soon?

Well, we are very happy to come through on that promise to you today!!!

Whitney from Shanty2Chic and I teamed up again so you too can build matching benches for your table!

Here's from Whitney:

I am LOVING my new benches!  I love the simplicity of them and how the design compliments the table so well.  The 4x4's give it a really solid look and my whole family can eat at this table at the same time.  The best part… Under $80 in wood for both.  Can't beat that!

For more building details and finishing instruction, please stop over and check out Whitney's post over at Shanty2Chic - see you back here for plans following!

XO Ana

Dimensions
Dimensions shown above

Preparation

Shopping List

2 - 4x4 @ 8 feet long
2 - 2x4 @ 6 feet long (or a 12 footer)
2 - 2x8 @ 6 feet long (or a 12 footer)
1 - 2x10 @ 3 feet long (for the breadboard ends - you can also use 2x8 scraps here instead of buying a 2x10)
2 1/2" pocket hole screws

Cut List

2 - 4x4 @ 13 1/2"
4 - 4x4 @ 13 1/4" (long point to long point, both ends cut at 10 degrees off square, parallel)
2 - 4x4 @ 8" (long point to long point, both ends cut at 10 degrees off square NOT parallel)
1 - 4x4 @ 65"
2 - 2x4 @ 65"
2 - 2x8 @ 68 1/2"
2 - 2x10 @ 14 1/2"

Tools
Tape Measure
Speed Square
Pencil
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Drill
Miter Saw
Power Sander
General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!

Instructions

Step 1

Build two of the leg ends as shown above. There's a ton of different ways to join 4x4s - I really like how Whitney used a Kreg Jig to hide the joints underneath - check that out here.

Step 2

Then attach the bottom stretcher to the two legs ...

Step 3

Next, add the two side aprons - these will give structure to the seat and look like 4x4s from the outside.

TIP: Drill 1 1/2" pocket holes facing upward on the inside of the aprons before attaching for attaching the bench top in the next step.

Step 4

Finally, build your bench top first (I recommend building with 1 1/2" pocket holes and 2 1/2" pocket hole screws first) and then attach to the bench.

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth.

It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.
Help Improve This Plan

We apologize if there was an error in this plan. Please help us out and report any errors here.

Comments

apowers313

Sun, 11/24/2013 - 11:43

The instructions mention that there are many ways to attach 4x4s. Since I don't want to spend $50 on the Kreg Jig HD, what are some of the other options?

apowers313

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 20:57

Replying to my own post here...

I experimented with using #10 and #14 screws with a normal Kreg pocket-hole, but that didn't work so well. Using 2 1/2" pocket hole screws with a 1 1/2" pocket hole didn't come out of the center of a 4x4 (for obvious reasons), so it didn't seem very sturdy.

I ended up using 4" long 1/4" wide concrete screws and going into the ends of the wood rather than creating pocket-hole screws. (I'll post some pictures if I can figure out how). The end result ended up being very sturdy and definitely 3-year-old-proof.

Nickm0501

Sun, 09/06/2015 - 05:09

I had similar concerns to yours,not wanting to spend money for the Kreg Jig, espcially since I didn't really understand how it works.  I've built a couple projects from this site, a coffee table and a bed frame, without using it. In the past I simply improvised how to join the pieces, usually using longer 4 1/2" screws. 

 

For this project I decided to invest in the Kreg Jig and am really glad that I did! It allows you to screw into wood at a consistent angle and join pieces using only 2 1/2 inch wood screws. The joined pieces are MUCH more secure, are completely hidden from view, it saves time, and is easier to do. I can't imagine doing this project without the Kreg Jig. Without it, the finished product would not be nearly as professional looking. Having all of the screws hidden really enhances the aethestics of the project.

 

Although you could figure out how to make this without it, for the enhanced quality of final product, I would strongly suggest investing in the Kreg Jig. I am surprised I hadn't heard of people using it before now. It will probably inspire you, like it did us, to build even more projects!  

apowers313

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 21:03

Note that in step #4, when attaching the top with the pocket-hole screws, the angle that you need to get your drill to drive the pocket hole screws requires that the back of your drill be exactly where the bottom stretcher is that was put in during step #2. I had to take out the bottom stretcher from step #2 in order to drive the final pocket-hole screws in, so I would recommend saving yourself the hassle and just doing step #2 last.

Also note that creating the top uses the same method as the pocket-hole farmhouse table (two 2x8s pocket-holed through the sides to form the top of the bench). It wasn't specified in the design, so it might be a bit daunting if you haven't read through the farmhouse table design.

apowers313

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 10:06

One last comment on this -- after finishing the bench and giving it a "test sit" before staining it, I found out that the breadboard ends aren't very sturdy. After thinking about it, they are only attached by a handful of pocket hole screws. The 2x10" board only overlaps the supporting 4x4 by about 1.5" (see the diagram in step 4). That means that if you sit on the end of the 2x10 there is quite a bit of leverage on that joint. When I sat on it (I weight 200 lbs), I could feel it move, and I imagine that my bouncy 3 year old would destroy it in a matter of weeks.

I ended up putting a few 4" long 0.25" diameter screws through the top of the breadboard ends into the 4x4 below (and countersinking the heads so that they didn't show). This at least made it so that the breadboard ends didn't move, but only time will tell if they will end up splitting because of the lack of support.

This is a pretty serious design flaw that would make me think twice before building this design again.

Canuky

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 16:33

I thought this might be the case in the farmhouse bench I made, so I for once I thought ahead and made the under supports longer, so the bread board ends rest on it more....Just an Idea for future builders, or make your top a bit shorter, so the support is there!

Emilyk222

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 14:56

I just went to buy wood for these benches and found that no stores in my area carry untreated 4x4s, they only carry treated 4x4s. Will this be an issue with staining? I've never used treated wood before and I'm worried about the way it will match with the other untreated wood that I'm using!

mharrison

Sat, 11/22/2014 - 04:26

I have had the same problem Emilyk222.  Our Lowes finally started carrying cedar 4 x 4's.  I've googled using treated 4x4s in your house & they DO NOT recommend it, due to the chemicals it is treated with.  I have used 2 x 4s screwed together & wood filler to create my own 4 x 4.  Like I said though our local Lowes has started carrying cedar 4 x 4s so at least we have some option.  Good Luck!