Build An Outdoor Storage Bench In Eight Steps Build An Outdoor Storage Bench In Eight Steps

If you have basic woodworking skills, you can build an outdoor storage bench in 8 easy steps.

What You’ll Need

Note: The quantities of the materials will vary according to the size of your bench.

  • Exterior grade ¾-inch Plywood
  • 2x4-inch lumber
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Circular and/or table saw
  • Strap hinges (2)
  • ¾-inch Screen molding
  • 1-inch Corner molding
  • ½-inch finish nails
  • 1½-inch wood screws
  • ½-inch wood screws
  • Wood glue

Step 1: Determine Bench Size

For this article we’ll build a  2x4x2-foot free-standing bench. If you want a larger bench, increase your bench dimensions and be sure to use supports every 16 to 20 inches to ensure bench strength.

Step 2: Cut the Wood for the Frame

Cut your 2x4-inch lumber into these lengths (or the length you wish to build):

  • 4 lengths 4-feet long - These will be the horizontal top and bottom of the lengths of the bench
  • 6 lengths 2-feet long - These will be the vertical posts at the ends and center of the bench
  • 8 lengths 5-inches long - These will be the horizontal supports both top and bottom

Predrill the ends of the 5-inch pieces at a 45-degree angle so you can toenail them into the 4-foot lengths at equal intervals.

Step 3: Assemble the Frame

Lay out two 4-foot lengths of 2x4-foot lumber. Place one 5-inch support length at each end so the 4 pieces of lumber form a rectangle. Square the frame and secure with wood screws.

Place two more 5-inch lengths at equal distances between the ends. Secure by toenailing. Repeat the process with the other 4-foot lengths. These will be the top and bottom of your bench.

Step 4: Install the Bottom of the Bench

Measure the inside of the box, and cut plywood to fit inside the bench to form the floor of the storage area. Secure to the bottom supports with glue and woodscrews.

Step 5: Attach the Plywood Sides

Cut and attach the sides, top and bottom. Don’t cut your plywood until you have assembled your frame and made sure it is plumb and square.

Measure, cut and attach ¾-inch plywood to the outside of the frame using glue and ½-inch finish nails. Keep the top edge of the plywood flush with the top of the frame so that the lid lays flat. Measure and cut the lid last.

Step 6: Attach the Lid

For the lid, cut a piece of plywood 1 inch longer and wider than your frame. Draw a line down the length of this top piece about 3¼-inches in from the edge. Using a table or circular saw, rip the 3¼-inch piece from the rest of the lid.

Attach this narrow strip flush with the length of the top of the bench with glue and 1½-inch wood screws. This is the piece of wood you’ll attach your hinges to. The rest of the wood will ultimately jut out over the front of the bench, enabling you to grasp it to lift the lid.

Step 7: Attach the Hinges

Line up the larger section of the top with the smaller strip you just attached. Separate the two top pieces an equal distance of  1/8-inch to ¼-inch apart and attach the stationary part of the hinge (part with the holes) to the 3-1/4-inch section of the top with 1½-inch wood screws, then do the same to the larger section, using ½-inch wood screws for the larger section.

Determine how many strap hinges you want to use, then mark their locations. Use one strap hinge every 16 to 20 inches so the lid doesn’t bind or twist when opened.

Step 8:  Add Molding and Stain or Paint

Finish your bench by attaching molding to cover the ends of the exposed plywood. Using 1-inch corner mold and cut to fit all four vertical corners. For the lid, use a flat, ¾-inch screen molding and glue and nail (½-inch finish nails) the molding, using a 45-degree mitered cut at the corners.

You can stain the wood or paint it. If you want to get fancy, use standard crown molding to create a personalized and elegant look to fit your yard, garden or deck.

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