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  • DIY | Create your own Benchseat

DIY | Create your own Benchseat

PROJECT MANAGER Jan Antoni Glinkowski, Restage Limited (Licensee of Renovation Franchise Ltd) BUILDER/CARPENTER Nick O'Flynn PHOTOGRAPHY Scott Espie BENCH SEAT PLANS Gareth Poley MATERIALS Thanks to PlaceMakers Wairau Park, owned by Steve Marshall Building Supplies Ltd.

Create your own, easy to use wooden bench seat for your outdoor area at home.

Materials you will need:

  • 4 x 2.4m - 70mm x 45mm H3.2
  • 10 x 1.2m - 45mm x 45mm H3.2

Cutting List:

  • 2 x Long Top Rails 70 x 45
    Length - 1200mm each
  • 1 x Short Top Rails 70 x 45Length - 431mm
  • 4 x Legs 70 x 45Length - 495mm each
  • 2 x Bottom Rails 70 x 45Length - 515mm each
  • 2 x Angle Braces 70 x 45Length - 650mm each
  • 19 x Seat Slats 45 x 45Length - 525mm each
  • 46 x Fixing - No10 stainless steel screws
    Length 75mm
  • 20 x Fixing - No10 stainless steel screwsLength - 50mm
  • 1 x Fixing - Waterproof glue

Tools checklist:

  • Hammer
  • Square
  • Hand saw or circular saw
  • Chisel
  • Sanding Tools
  • Tape Measure/Ruler

Step 1

  • Cut halving joints on the ends of the long top rails and the tops of the four legs. The halving joints should be not quite half way through the material, only to the depth of 21mm. This is to allow for the length of the 50mm screws and a little added detailing of the joint. You can download plans at
  • these joints should be the width of the material, approx. 70mm.
  • They can be cut using a sliding mitre/cross cut saw by setting the depth of the cut and making a number of cuts across and then cleaning the joint with a sharp chisel.

Step 2

  • Take the two bottom rails and using the same setting on the cross cut saw, cut the halving joints on the ends to the thickness of the leg material, approx. 45mm.

Step 3

  • Take the four legs and place them back to back in pairs ensuring the cut joint faces out.
  • Mark up 50mm from the bottom of the leg on each pair on the 45mm side.
  • Use the bottom rail to measure and mark the right width from the 50mm mark. It should be about 120mm up from the bottom of the leg.
  • Square across these marks and then use a marking gauge to mark the depth of the housing joint. This will receive the halving joint and so should match the thickness of the halving joint on the end of the bottom rail.

Step 4

  • Take the long top rails and place them with the legs to form a corner, making sure the joint is square. The housing joint on the legs must face the centre of the seat.

  • Mark the centre of the long top rail (600mm). Take the short top rail and centre it over the makr on the long top rail.
  • Using the top of the short rail, mark a horizontal line 16mm down from the top edge of the long top rail.

Step 5

  • Place your angle brace between the long top rail and leg.
  • Using the short top rail, mark your birds beak joints. The lower edges of your angle brace should sit at the centre of the bottom of the short top rail and approximately 5mm up from the housing joint of the leg.
  • Cut out the marked joints with a jigsaw. The bird's beak joints interlocks the rails to avoid unwanted movement.

Step 6

  • Cut a halving joint on each end of the seat slats to approx 15mm deep. This will leave 30mm showing above the long top rail. Fifteen slats will have halving joints cut to the width of the long top rail, approx. 45mm, so that they are even with the outside of the long top rail.
  • Two slats at each end will need to have longer halving joints to allow for the width of the leg and top rail at the corners of the bench, approx. 53mm.

Step 7

  • Centrally mark a point 21mm from the ends of slats.
  • Drill and counter sink.


Step 8

  • Drill and counter sink 2 holes diagonally at the tops of the legs.

Step 9

  • Drill and counter sink two holes in the halving joints of the bottom rails, ready to fix this to the legs.
  • Glue and screw the bottom rails to each pair of legs.

Step 10

  • Glue and screw the pair of legs to the long top rail, using the 50mm stainless steel screws. It is important that this joint is square to ensure the brace timber fits well.

Step 11

  • Drill and countersink 2 holes in the long face of the bird beak joint in the right place to fix off to the top and bottom cross rails using 50mm and 75mm screws.

Step 12

  • Place the frame upside down and position the short top rail in the centre of the long rails to form and H shape.
  • Insert the angle brace timbers and pack up the short top rail so as to make the bird's beak joint tight between the short rails.
  • In this position you can drill and screw the short rail into place using 75mm screws.

Step 13

  • Make sure the brace timbers are central prior to screwing them in place.
  • Fix with a 50mm and 75mm stainless steel screws.

Step 14

  • Spin the bench back over and fix the top bird's beak joint as before.

Step 15

  • Sand smooth the corner joints and leg housing joints.

Step 16

  • Glue and screw the centre slat and both outside slats. The outside slats will have the wider halving joints.

Step 17

  • Space out all the seat slats. The space should be about 17mm so it is recommended to use the spacing timber of this thickness.
  • Glue and screw as you space each slat using a 75mm stainless steel screw.

Step 18

  • Once the bench has been screwed together sand any rough surfaces or edges and paint or stain if required.

  • Post author
    Renovate Magazine