Incorporating a deck bench into your outdoor décor is a great way to compliment the wood of your deck with handmade wood furniture. You can choose to use any wood you like—cedar or oak are good choices because they have lovely wood grains and if you just put polyurethane over it you can preserve the look of the natural wood. You don’t need a lot to build a deck bench but it can be rather involved, so make sure you’re prepared for a project that can take you a day or two.
Step 1 - Decide Size
If you want a 10-foot-long bench, this probably isn’t the project for you. However the average deck bench length is about five feet, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding 2x4 planks that will suit your bench. Measure out the desired length of the base, the depth of the seat, and the desired height of the back. Also figure out how high from the seat and ground you want the armrest to be. Once you’ve made this determination, you can cut your 2x4s.
Step 2 - Cut Frame Wood
The 2x4 planks are meant to be the frame and legs of your bench. Cut your first plank to accommodate the depth of the seat, and make two of each piece. The reason for this is you will be using the other two pieces to support the legs of your bench.
Next, cut your 2x4s to suit the length of your seat. This should be the same measurement as the back, so cut four of these as well.
After that, you can cut your pieces to the height of the seat off of the floor. Ideally this should be about 24 inches, and you will have to cut four of these too.
With the scraps you have left, you can decide your armrests. Cut them to fit the depth of the seat also, and set them aside. Other scraps you have should be able to support this plank on the seat, so cut accordingly.
Step 3 - Assemble Frame
Now you have a bunch of wood planks all cut up in front of you. This is where it gets fun. Start by making your seat and your back by screwing the two short pieces to the two long pieces to make a rectangle with right angles. Seal with wood glue. Repeat this for both the back and the seat.
In the center of each frame, connecting the two long pieces, drill a piece of your 1x2 to support the seat and back.
Now, put two of the arm pieces on the ground, the length of the bench seat frame. Screw the two legs meant to support one side of the bench to that arm piece, and repeat the process on the other side. You should have two pieces of wood on the ground that have two other pieces sticking up. Repeat this process again for the armrest pieces.
After that, you can lift your seat frame and put it onto the pieces sticking up, and drill them together. Seal the seams with wood glue as always, and attach your arm pieces to the seat frame. You can now put your back on.
To attach the back, use the scraps to attach the back frame to the seat frame. Drill it all together, and then check all your screws to make sure it’s tight.
Step 4 - Attach Plywood
Almost finished! Cut the bench and back pieces out of your plywood sheet, keeping the edges flush with the frame. Start with a bead of glue around the edges, and then the sheeting down to the frame. You now have a handmade deck bench that echoes the lines of your deck.
Paint it, stain it, sand it, fatigue it, you can do whatever you want to your new bench. It’s a good idea if you sit in it for a while and enjoy the fruits of your labor.