Intro: Reclaimed Wood Bench
This is an instructable for making a wood bench out of, in my case reclaimed, 6x2's. The main thing that you'll get out of this are the dimensions for the different pieces. The construction itself is pretty easy and mainly a matter of cutting the 6x2's down to length and then screwing them together.
If you've done wood work before you can probably skip the instructions and just look at the drawing.
Couple of comments I'd like to make about the bench:
- The width and depth of the seating surface is such that 48" x 17" cushions fit nicely. This seems to be a somewhat standard size. However, I suggest you check locally first to verify that you are able to find cushions of these dimensions. Also, measure the cushions since the ones that I designed the bench for are actually 47.5" but are labeled as 48".
- It is very easy to change the width of the bench, you just adjust the length of the seat and backrest to accommodate your needs. As such this can be made to seat 2 as shown or 1 or more. If you decide to go for a longer bench you might want to do a "dry run" to see how much the seat flexes when people sit on it before you cut the wood and add a set of legs in the middle if needed. (I suggest making another full side, parts 1, 2, 3, 4, but cut part 3 to be flush with the top of part 2) As designed there is virtually no flexing of the seat when two people sit on the bench.
- The seat is a bit higher than a couch so that the bench can be used for seating with a dinning table. If you prefer something different simply screw part 2 into the legs higher or lower. Fair warning: if you move #2 up or down it may be too short or too long. What I mean is, as designed the ends of part 2 are flush with the vertical legs. This is a minor cosmetic thing and would not be too noticeable if the back of parts 2 is not lined up with the back leg.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
Like the title mentions this is a bench made from "reclaimed" wood, but it obviously does not have to be. In my case there was an old deck in my backyard that was structurally in poor shape, but a lot of the individual planks looked very good. Especially after power-washing!
What you'll need is:
- About 40ft of 6x2's. You may need more than that depending on what lengths you're starting out with so I suggest you plan out your cuts in advance to make sure you have enough.
- Wood screws. I used 3" deck screws with rust protection since I made the bench for outdoors.
- Saw. I used a 10" miter saw and a jig saw because that's what I had.
- Power drill.
- Sander. I used a random orbital sander for most of the work after a cheap 1/4 sheet palm sander broke. I highly recommend sanding at the very least the seating surface, back, and armrests. Not only does the wood look much nicer but all it will take is one splinter to make you wish you did. I used 80 grit to take off the really rough surface and the 120 to get it somewhat smooth. I didn't go any finer since I made my benches for outside and 120 is smooth enough for that and looked good enough.
- Stain and sealant to protect the wood. Depending on what you're planning on doing with you benches you might do something different. I used a 2-in-1 but again this is something you need to decide for yourself.
Step 2: Cutting and Sanding
I cut all the pieces at once. If you decide to make more than one bench you may want to complete one bench just to make sure that you like it. I tried to provide dimensions that should make it quick and easy to measure out all the cuts. There are more dimensions than necessary but this is to accommodate people who may not be using a miter saw that can be adjuster for 15 degrees and instead have to measure out the side of the triangle to be cut off.
The one tricky piece is #7, the arm rest. I used a jig saw and it was not difficult, and I imagine a hand saw should not be much trouble. The difficult part is making sure that you draw your cut lines correctly. Even more difficult is creating a second mirror image part for the other armrest. Just take your time and make sure to compare the two piece with each other before cutting!
Once all the pieces were cut I sanded them. I sanded every surface with the 80 grit. Then with the 120. I spent much more time on the "nice" sides with the 120 and only gave the "ugly" sides a once over. Since I used old deck wood, one side of every piece was weathered and worn while the other looked practically new once power washed and sanded. I planned my pieces such that the nice side would face out. The only pieces where this is a concern are the armrests. Every other piece can be installed in either direction while the armrests, once they are cut, can only be installed one way.
Step 3: Staining, or Painting
I used a 2-in-1 stain and sealer. I figure it should hold up at least a couple of years and I can always go back and give it another coat if it starts to look bad. Like with the sanding, this is an area where you can do as much or as little as you want. I went for good enough.
I would recommend that you paint or stain before assembly so that every surface is protected.
Step 4: Assembly!
Once the parts are cut, sanded, and stained, it's time to assemble!
I did not take many pictures during this step so I only have one picture to show and I'll have to do my best and explain what I would consider the best procedure. Page 1 of the drawings should be plenty to assemble the bench though.
- Lay parts 3 and 4 on the ground
- Lay parts 1 and 2 on top
- Now, this is probably the most important step, you need to line up all the pieces as shown in the side view with the dimensions, and make sure that parts 1 and 2 are parallel. This is where you would move part 2 up or down to change the height of the seating surface. If you used my dimensions the edges of the parts should all line up nicely as shown in the side view. You also need to make a mirror image assembly for the other side. I recommend you lay both out at the same time, side by side to make sure the you get it right.
- Once you are satisfied that the 4 parts for both sides are lined up correctly use 4 screws at each intersection. What you should be left with is what's shown in the picture.
- Stand the two sides up and place two seat boards (parts 5) on top of parts 2. You may also want to add the bottom backrest to get an idea for the gaps between the different boards. Once you have positioned the two seat boards put one screw into each end of each board.
- Screw the rest of the boards in place. I used pieces of scrap wood to keep consistent spacing between all the different boards.
- With the seat and back rest in place the only thing left to do are the armrests. I suggest you push the cutout in parts 7 against the backrest and first screw the arm rest into part 3. Then screw into the armrest through part 4
Step 5: Done!
As you can see I made two benches and they make for a very nice outdoor seating area.