Simple, Sturdy Benches




About: Electrical dude. Married with four 4-pawed kids. New homeowner on a mission to break everything (and then repair it).

Since revamping our firepit a few weeks ago, my wife wanted a couple of sturdy benches to accompany the logs we use for chairs during bonfires.

So we went shopping around a bit and didn't really finding anything to our liking... We did however get quite a few laughs at the prices of outdoor benches.

$150 each for a shoddy built and crappily painted metal bench? ... Nice try retail stores, nice try.

My goal was to build two for under $100 which I did. Although it can be done for a lot cheaper if you already have materials on hand, especially the stain/paint (The Restore 2x paint was over $30!).

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Step 1: What You'll Need

Materials per bench:

I used framing lumber because its cheap, easy to work with, and cheap:

3x - 2x6s cut to 72"

2x - 2x4s cut to 67.5"

4x - 2x4s cut to 11.5"

6x - 4x4s cut to 12.5" (this will give the bench a total height of ~14")

Box of exterior deck 2 1/2" screws

1 gallon Rustoleum Restore 2x paint (there will be a lot left over)

Tools needed/recommended:


Miter saw

Caliper with thumb lock

Tape measure


Step 2: Drill Your Pilot Holes

To make assembling the bench really easy, I went through and marked all the points where a screw was going to go and drilled a small pilot hole. I also used a countersink to make sure none of the screw heads would stick out after assembly.

My technique for marking all the screw holes is to use a metal digital caliper with a thumb lock. I set and lock it to my desired measurement and then use it to scratch a faint line into the wood and essentially create a crosshair to mark where I want to drill my pilot hole. This can also be done with a tape measure and pencil just as easily.

Step 3: Support and Attaching the Top

To build the supporting frame, I made a rectangle out of the two longer 2x4s and two of the shorter ones. I just used one screw at each corner.

I chose to put the top screws centered and 3" from the ends of the 2x6s and attached it directly to the support frame.

*Update: I forgot to add that the top boards have a 1/2" gap between them

Step 4: Adding the Legs

To attach the legs, I flipped the bench upside down and just free handed the corner legs, driving in screw from each side.

For the middle two legs, I measured the midpoint and drilled a hole in the 2x4 before attaching the legs. Since there was only one screw holding these legs on, I added a 2x4 on each side of the legs and screwed it all together. This also provides additional support for the top boards in the middle since they are not screwed to anything.

*Note: I knew my benches were going to be placed on very uneven grass, so being super precise with the legs was not necessary. Although mine turned out almost perfectly level... I would definitely take more time and be more precise if the bench is going to be used on a flat surface.

Step 5: Paint and Be Complete!

I did not take any picture when I painted but there's no magic or mystery to it. I used a standard paint roller where I could and a brush to get the rest. The Restore paint I used is very thick and one coat seemed to cover very well.

I gave it a couple of days to dry in the garage and they were ready to use!

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7 Discussions

PhD Enforcer

3 years ago

I am going to make some of these as a part of my Eagle Scout Project. Thanks for the awesome design!


4 years ago on Step 5

I will be making these for my patio this weekend. I've been looking for a simple bench plan to use with some wood I reclaimed when I disassembled my sons play gym and swing


4 years ago on Introduction

I recently tore down an old play structure and was trying to decide how to reuse it... Thanks!


4 years ago on Introduction

Just a quick tip for everyone. Mark your screw holes and counter sink BEFORE drilling the pilot holes. Gives a much neater and smoother countersink hole with no chatter marks and an even and smooth cone with zero splintering. Made some benches last week out of left over decking and framing pine 3 x 1's.


4 years ago on Introduction

I voted for this! What makes this different from the rest is how sturdy these are made. I know that there can be four or five people trying to sit on benches and if they are not well made, they are going to break or warp. That won't happen with these. It looks like the legs are very thick and won't sink in the grass - even after rain! Great job!


4 years ago

It the dog job site supervisor a requirement? Ha ha


4 years ago on Introduction

These are excellent looking benches!

I love that deck restore paint. It's great for all kinds of outdoor projects--much more than just decks! :)