Building a Wooden Bench

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Woodwork is a hobby of mine I’m still just beginning to explore. But the other week, while working on some renovations to my laundry room, I realized I had some decent wood left over from the shelves I took off the walls. Since they weren’t going back in as shelves, I decided to re-purpose some of the wood into a small bench.

I got the idea for this bench from another one made by my grandfather years ago. The original plans may have been his own or may have come from a Sears catalog or something like that before my time.

For homesteading readers of mine, a bench may be useful, a practical project for extra wood, or perhaps just some fun to make out of an afternoon. Either way, below is a brief rundown of my process.

I started with two long wooden shelves, and traced patterns for the pieces I needed out on top of them. I used two different saws for cutting out the straight and diagonal pieces, but you can use whichever you prefer or have access to. The third image shows a birds’ eye view of all the pieces needed to assemble the bench.

I drilled guides for my screws and then used a countersink to create a recess for the screw to rest in level with the boards as I screwed them together. If possible for you, I highly recommend this added step because leaving the screws exposed on the surface of the bench could result in caught or torn clothes after sitting.

There’s no particular order you need to start assembly with. I began with the sides of the shelf, using wood glue and clamps to help hold it together before applying the screws. Next I affixed the leg pieces and top before finishing off with the diagonal-cut braces.

Last but not least, I used a stencil to prep a cut-out for easy carrying of the bench later. You can use circle stencils of the size you want to trace the curved edges of the cut-out. Simply trace half the circle at one end and another half at the other, then use a straight edge to connect, and a jigsaw to cut the handhold out.

Depending on access to tools and your motivation, all in all, this project can be completed in an afternoon.

Happy woodworking!


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Pat Mosley (NC LMBT #16882) is a licensed massage and bodywork therapist in the Winston-Salem area. His work is rooted in compassionate touch, permaculture, and deep ecology with the resilience of all Earth's children in mind. Connect with him via email to info@pat-mosley.com

Woodworking, Zone ZeroPat Mosley