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.



Sat, 08/13/2011 - 10:33

My hubby and I are going to attempt to make two of these starting this weekend. I was going to start cutting however I am having a hard time seeing the measurements on all of the drawings. I enlarged them but they just get distorted and fuzzy. Can anybody help me with this? I don't want to mess it up. We have to finish them this week as they are for a fundraiser next weekend.


Thu, 08/18/2011 - 05:01

Thanx for enlarging the photos Ana, much better. Some of us have older eyes, lol!

Ashleigh (not verified)

Sat, 03/03/2012 - 21:34

I want to make this bench in an 84" length. do you think it's needs support in the middle?


Tue, 08/20/2013 - 10:04

Are the cross supports a structural element or are they more for design? I want to make benches for your "Rustic Table", and these (without the cross supports) most closely match it. Thanks!


Mon, 12/23/2013 - 13:53

Hi There,

For the legs, do you make them look like one piece of stock by using wood filler? To fill any small gaps between the 1x2 and 1x3?

I can't quite tell if the bench is sanded to soften the corners for the top, legs and other pieces.

Any feedback would be great. I will start this soon.


Mon, 10/20/2014 - 11:56

OK.  I really want to make this bench, but I am afraid of the notch cuts.  I can see how to do the L shaped ones on the top of the piece, but I cannot wrap my brain around the lower one with cuts on three sides.  Advice? 


Sat, 02/07/2015 - 09:18

I'm surprised nobody has pointed out the shipping list is incorrect for this project. You need 4 1x3s to complete this bench as described. Three 8 ft 1x3s is 288" of lumber. But if you add up all the 1x3s needed in the plan it comes to 301.5. Over a foot short.