You can make a set of sturdy bench seats without cutting a single board!!!
The secret is to do a little bit of planning and then have your local big-box lumber store do your cutting for you. We do a lot of shopping at our local LOWES and as long as we don't get too extreme they are more than happy to do our cutting for us especially when we plan and have all of our measurements done ahead of time.
For this project we started with:
- 2 - 10'X2"X12" boards
1 - 12'X2"X6" board
1 - Partial box of 4" long decking screws. The entire project used 34 screws (17 per bench) and we bought a box of 40.
1 - Gallon of outdoor paint bought at a discount.
We had the two 10'X2"X12" boards cut into 1 - 78" length for the main seats and two 16.5" lengths for the legs, with 9" of each board left over.
We had the one 12'X2"X6" board cut into two 63" pieces for the lateral braces, with 18" left over.
About the paint - Anytime a customer's paint order does not match what he expects they marked the custom colored paint down and sell it "as is". We bought this gallon of paint for $15, which is about 1/2 price. You will never find the exact color you want this way but often what's available is "close enough" especially for an outdoor bench project like this one.
Step 1: Line Up and Mark Your Legs
Start by standing one of the lateral brace boards on it's edge.
Then stand two of the legs up at the ends of the brace and mark the outline with a pencil. Then do the same for the other set.
Once all 4 legs are marked drill a set of 4 pilot holes all the way though the 4, making sure the bottom most holes are about 1" from the bottom edge and the top most holes are about 1" from the top of the marks.
You will drill a total of 16 holes.
Step 2: Mount the Legs to the Braces
Using your original pencil marks, line the 4 legs and 2 lateral braces up.
Then run all 16 screws into the wood.
Step 3: Trace the Legs Onto the Seat.
Next decide which side of the main seat boards will face up and lay them on the floor with that side facing down.
Place the leg assemblies on the main seat boards and center them end to end.
Trace the outline of the leg assemblies onto the bottoms of the main seat boards.
Step 4: Drill the Seat Screws Pilot Holes
Move the leg assemblies and drill the main seat screws.
You should drill three holes for each leg and three holes down the center.
Tip - Since the leg assemblies are already built it's easy to move them off to the side then temporarily place the main seat boards on the leg assemblies for drilling.
Step 5: Final Assembly
Flip the leg assemblies over so that the lateral brace (the 2X6 board) is across the top.
Flip the main seat boards over and center the boards on the leg assemblies.
Run the screws into the boards - you should use a total of 9 screw per seat top.
Step 6: The Finished Product
When done your two benches should look exactly like these.
Note: We used non-pressure treated lumber for our project because the wood would be completely covered with outdoor grade paint and the benches will be sitting on a concrete patio. If you plan to stain your benches and/or they will be sitting on the ground then you should use pressure treated lumber for your project.
Step 7: Paint
Like I mentioned in our project, we planned to paint all along.
Here's a picture of the first bench painted with our discount outdoor latex paint!