How to build an outdoor cedar bench….
I know it has been yonks since I shared our deck refresh here and how to build an outdoor cedar dining table here. But we’ve been a little bit busy between working on the She Shed (here) and our family trip to Spain (here and here).
Anyway, this outdoor dining set has made our deck an amazing outdoor entertaining space from breakfast with the kids to impromptu cookouts after the beach with friends or proper parties. It is perfect.
We actually had Matthew Mead and friends from the magazine here on Saturday night which made it important for Luke to finish the other bench. It rained but we did get to enjoy the deck for a good hour or two before the heavens opened.
There is more to that night, but I’ll have to save it for another time as today I want to share how to build these awesome benches!!!!
(oh, don’t mind the watermark on the bench, it is because we had torrential rains before I took these photos) 😉
Here’s what we did:
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White Cedar Planks and Posts
For the top:
- 10 pieces of 1×2, 26″ long
- 2 pieces of 1×3, 54 1/2″ long
- 1 pieces of 1×3, 9″ long
- 2 pieces of 1×3, 14″ long
For the skirt:
- 2 pieces of 1×4, 54 1/2″ long
- 2 pieces of 1×4, 10 1/2″ long
For the legs
- 4 17 1/2″ long 4×4 cedar posts
- 4 pieces of 1/4″ board, cut into 2 1/2″ squares, to hold the legs straight.
- 12 x 1/4″ bolts, washers, lock washers, and nuts
- 1 1/4″ coarse kreg screws
- Kreg Jig K4 (or K5 system as this helps ensure correct hole position)
- Cordless Drill
- Mitre Saw (We used a compound mitre saw, but a hand mitre block will do) and stand.
Step 1: Pre drill the pocket holes, in pairs, at each end of the 1×2″ boards, each end of the 9″ length of 1×3, and the 54 1/2″ 1×3; all on the same side.
Step 2: Create a rectangle of the two 54 1/2″ 1×3, topped off by the two 14″ 1×3’s, now using the kreg screws, attach the two long sides to the short ends
Step 3: Place the 9″ length of 1×3 between the two long sides, exactly in their middle, and screw that into place.
Step 4: Using a spacer (we found about a 6mm gap was right) space out 5 of the 1×2 lengths into each of the rectangular spaces. Screw them into place, using the spacer and clamps.
Step 5: Pre drill two pocket holes in each end of the 54 1/2″ lengths of 1×4 to attach to the end of the skirt; on the same side, in 3 locations down one edge, pre drill two more pocket holes, to attach to the top
Step 6: Pre drill two pocket holes, in two locations, down one edge of each 10 1/4″ length of 1×4, to attach to the top.
Step 7: Lay out the 1×4 on edge, so that they create a rectangle on the inner edge of the frame of the top; ensure that all of the pocket holes are on the inside of the frame.
Step 8: Using clamps to hold everything in place, starting with the long edges, screw the skirt to the top. Then screw the sides of the skirt into the end of the skirt.
For Each corner:
Step 9: Place the 1/4″ flat piece of wood next to any protruding screw heads, on the top of the bench, in the corner of the skirt frame. This is to keep the table leg from going skew.
Step 10: Stand the leg in the corner, and clamp it into place
Step 11: Using a long 1/4″ drill bit, drill holes through the skirt and the leg, one from each end, and two from the sides. Try to make it even from the outside with each corner; on the sides making the holes diagonal from each other.
Step 12: Push the 1/4″ bolts through from the outside of the skirt, then place the washer, then lock washer, then nut onto the end of the bolt. Tighten.
Enjoy! I know you’re gonna love your new benches!