54" Bench with Cross Bracing - Made with 1x boards

Submitted by Ana White on Fri, 01/18/2019 - 23:05
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A simple bench gets stylish with some clever cross bracing and false notching. We love the easy nail and glue joinery.  It's perfect for the entryway, end of the bed, or anywhere you might need ocassional seating.

See why so many have built this bench already! Special thanks to our readers for sharing their photos. 

easy to build bench with cross bracing
easy to build bench with cross bracing
dimensions shown above
54" Wide x 18" Tall x 12" Deep


Shopping List
  • 4 – 1×3 8′ boards 
  • 1 – 1×2 8′ board 
  • 1 – 1×12, at least 54″ long
Common Materials
1 1/4 inch screws
2 inch screws
120 grit sandpaper
paint brush
Cut List
  • A) 4 – 1×3 @ 17 1/4″ (Leg Pieces, notch out in step 1) 
  • B) 4 – 1×3 @ 11 1/2″ (End Aprons and Side Stretchers) 
  • C) 4 – 1×2 @ 17 1/4″ (Leg Pieces to complete the legs) 
  • D) 3 – 1×3 @ 45″ (Aprons and stretcher) 
  • E) 2 – 1×3 @ 25 3/4″ (Cross Supports) 
  • F) 1- 1×12 @ 54″ (Top)
Tape Measure
Speed Square
Miter Saw
Power Sander
General Instructions

Work on a clean level surface. Use good boards. Cut all of your boards first. Check for square after each step. Because this is a bench, I recommend using screws instead of nails. Always use glue. Predrill and countersink your screw heads. Have fun and be safe.


Step 1

Notch out the Legs. Mark the 1×3 parts of the legs as shown above. With a jigsaw, cut out as shown above.

Step 2

Attach the End Aprons/Stretcher. Attatch the end aprons, B, to the 1×3 legs pieces, A, as shown above.

Step 3

Complete the Legs. Fasten C, the 1×2 part of the legs, to the rest of the leg. Keep the outside corner flush.

Step 4

Cut the Cross Supports. Cut the cross supports as directed above. Use your square to determine the cuts and mark on the board prior to any cutting. The overall length, from the longest point to the longest point is 25 3/4″. This is by far the trickiest step. What you will need to do on the end cut at two different angles, is first mark out the 60 degree angle from the top corner (when imagining the board in place on the bench). Also mark and cut the bottom angle. Then cut these angles and fit on the bench. Center the bottom on the stretcher. Then mark off where the top overhangs the top of the bench and clip off. This cut does not have to be perfect – you will just need to make sure it sits lower than the top of the bench.

Step 5

Step 6

aprons are not shown in the above diagram 6. Fasten the Cross Supports. Fasten the cross supports as shown above.

Step 7

Top. Fasten the bench to the top, as shown here. If you wish to hide your screw holes, you will need to either predrill through the apron and screw into the underside of the bench or you can purchase small L brackets and fasten the top in place. If you are painting, you can simply predrill and scew through the top into the aprons.


argylesocks (not verified)

Thu, 03/25/2010 - 15:27

I am the girl that took all the boy classes in High School and College. I majored in Construction management with a specialty in furniture building. I love that you have this blog. My sister call me a couple of days ago and told me about it. I especially love that you are helping people realize that you do not need a degree to do stuff like this. Basic furniture really is basic. Rock on!

Shannan (not verified)

Sun, 04/11/2010 - 15:25

I am getting ready to build 2 of these benches this week. Your instructions say that it is 6 " shorter than the pottery barn bench. Just wondering if the large unfinished bench and black bench are the same as your plans? The bench in the You tube video looks a lot smaller.

Christina (not verified)

Mon, 04/19/2010 - 08:54

I also built this bench (with the help of my dad's tools) yesterday. My 1x12 (unfortunately) was only 11.25" wide, as as a result, my base piece is sticking out beyond my top...however, we are taking a hand saw and whacking them off (or going to a different store to buy a different 1x12 that's wider!) Has anyone heard of a 1x12 being 3/4" narrower than the measure? I have definitely heard of them being 1/4" narrower, but 3/4"?!

Also, I needed 4 1x3's as well, as a previous poster mentioned. AND, we didn't use a jig saw, we notched the legs with a mitre saw and chisel for an more exact cut.

mcall (not verified)

Mon, 06/14/2010 - 10:38

Hi, I love the rustic bench. I'd like to make it bigger. How can I figure out the dimensions of the stretchers?

Guest (not verified)

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 21:52

Hi, I am working on the rustic bench. I decided I was going to make it taller and turn it in to a table basically. I kept it 54" long but I made my legs 30". I got stumped when I came to cutting the angles for my cross support and saw your post and figured you may have figured it out! Please help!!!

That one girl (not verified)

Thu, 07/01/2010 - 10:41

I just found this site and I'm pretty much in bloggy love. Excuse me while I buy all the lumber out of Home Depot...