Introduction: How to Build a Modern Bench

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This simple, modern and sturdy cedar bench, is easy to build and could be used outdoors or why not indoors in a foyer or something like that. It features a white stripe down the middle, and instead of hiding the hardware, the bolts and nails are incorporated as part of the design. It's easy to build and would make a great addition to any space!

Step 1: Materials Needed

These are the cuts you'll need:

  • A) Legs: 4 @ 3 ½ x 3 ½ x 20 ¼ in (90 x 90 x 514 mm)
  • B) Main Seat, White: 1 @ 32 11/16 x 7 ¾ x ¾ in (830 x 197 x 19 mm)
  • C) Long Sides: 2 @ 31 x 7 ¾ x ¾ in (787 x 197 x 19 mm)
  • D) Short Internal: 5 @ 16 1/8 x 7 ¾ x ¾ in (410 x 197 x 19 mm)
  • E) Narrow Seat: 2 @ 22 ½ x 4 1/8 x ¾ in (572 x 105 x 19 mm)
  • F) Small White Sides: 2 @ 7 7/8 x 7 ¾ x ¾ in (200 x 197 x 19 mm)

You'll also need:

  • a drill
  • a hammer
  • bits
  • Stainless Steel Lag Bolts 16 @ 1/4 x 2 1/2 in - (6 x 64 mm) + washers to fit
  • Exterior Screws 8 @ 2 1/2 in - (64 mm) + washers to fit
  • Exterior Nails, ring shank 30 @ 2 in - (50 mm)

Step 2: Preparation

First of all, let's prepare the wood. You could certainly use cedar fence boards for this project, however I had some 2 inch roughsawn cedar around which I decided to resaw in half. Cut all your wood to pieces.

The legs are beveled 1/2 inch (or 12 mm) at 45 degrees. I find the easiest way to do that, is to set up a stop block on the miter saw and then just go through all the pieces without having to do any measuring.

Once all the wood is ready and cut, I sand everything to make sure the pieces are smooth.

Step 3: Legs Section

To construct the bench, we start with the legs. So a pair of legs, cut A are wrapped around two pieces of cedar cut D, that connect them. So let's first build these two sections.

I start with marking out two inches from the top on the legs. This is where the board will be attached. So first line up the wood, and the first side is going to be inwards on the bench, so I'm using the exterior screws to attach the cedar here.

Cedar is pretty soft wood, which is why I'm adding washers to the screws, just to make sure the screws don't drive into the wood too far.

Once one side is complete, I turn it around, and lay another piece of the cedar, however this piece will be shown outwards, so I'm using the bolts with the washers here.

To make sure that the bolts are put in evenly, I'm marking where each one goes - 1 1/2 inches from the bottom and 1 and 3/4 inches in.

One done, another one to go. And just repeat the same steps for the next one.

Step 4: Finish Assembly

Next, lets' attach the two sections together with the long cedar, cut C on each side.

So again, since this will show to the outside, I'm using the bolts to connect here. And I'm measuring to line the bolts up - 1 1/2 inches from the bottom again, and 2 1/2 inches from the side in this case. It's important to pre-drill only the cedar board, and not to drive it down into the legs, because then you won't get a good connection when you try to attach the bolt.

To make sure the board is attaching evenly, don't over tighten one side before another. Then just turn it around and repeat this step on the other side.

Now it's time to add the center support piece, the fifth piece of cut D. Find the middle on the long cedar board and mark it down with a speed square, then pre-drill some holes, and nail it in using the galvanized nails.

OK, now let's attach the two top pieces which will remain unpainted, cut E. So pre-drilling and nailing in.

Step 5: Painting & Finishing

To give the bench its unique look, I'm painting cut B & F with exterior paint, and I'm making sure I'm getting the ends too. To ensure the cedar keeps its color, I'm spraying the bench with a spar-urethane solution.

And once everything has dried it's time to assemble and nail in the white boards. First I'm making sure the center piece in properly in the middle with the right amount of hang over on each side. Next I'm attaching the white sides, again with galvanized nails.

Step 6: Conclusion - Watch the Video!

And the bench is finished! Please make sure to watch the video for a much better look and understanding. You can easily make this bench longer, simply by using longer side boards - cut C, if you want to. I think it's great for anywhere you want a substantial and interesting looking bench.