How to Build Benches

Are you interested in constructing a bench for your backyard or garden? Building a bench can be a fun and rewarding project that adds functionality and character to your outdoor space.

How to Build Benches

Building benches is a fulfilling woodworking project that enhances both your skills and your home’s outdoor space. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced woodworker, constructing a bench requires a blend of creativity, precision, and patience.

Benches can vary significantly in design, from simple and rustic to intricate and ornate, allowing you to tailor the project to your personal style and the intended aesthetic of your space.

This guide will walk you through the fundamental steps of how to build benches, covering essential tools, materials, safety tips, and detailed instructions to help you create a sturdy and stylish bench that you can proudly display and use.

What Will You Need?

Before starting your bench-building project, ensure you have the necessary tools and materials. Here are some of the essential items you’ll need:

  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil or marker
  • Saw (circular saw, jigsaw, or handsaw)
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Screws or nails (depending on your preferred fastening method)
  • Sandpaper or sander
  • Wood glue (optional but recommended for added stability)
  • Protective gear such as safety glasses and gloves

Having a sturdy workbench or table to use as a workspace while constructing your bench is also helpful.

10 Easy Steps on How to Build Benches

Step 1: Plan Your Bench Design

The first step in building a bench is to decide on the design and size you want. This will depend on the purpose of your bench, whether it’s for seating or storage, as well as the available space in your outdoor area. You can choose from various styles such as a simple flat bench, an L-shaped bench, or a curved design.

An L-shaped Bench

Step 2: Gather Your Materials

Begin by selecting the type of wood you’ll use for your bench. Popular choices include cedar, redwood, pine, and teak, each offering unique benefits in terms of durability, appearance, and ease of use. If the bench will be placed outdoors, make sure to purchase wood that is weather-resistant to ensure longevity and stability.

Next, gather all the necessary hardware and fasteners for your project. Stainless steel screws or galvanized nails are ideal for outdoor furniture, as they resist rust and ensure a strong hold. Additionally, wood glue can be used to reinforce joints and seams, adding extra stability to your bench.

Having the right tools is crucial for a smooth building process.

Ensure your saw blades are sharp and suitable for cutting your chosen wood type. If you’re uncomfortable with a circular saw, a handsaw or jigsaw can be an excellent alternative, especially for curved or detailed cuts. High-quality drill bits and a reliable drill will make the task of assembling the bench much easier.

It’s essential to prioritize safety when working with tools and materials. Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from sawdust and wood chips, and use gloves to shield your hands from splinters and abrasions. A dust mask is also advisable, especially when sanding to prevent inhaling fine wood particles.

Step 3: Measure and Cut the Wood

With your design plan finalized and materials gathered, the next step is to accurately measure and cut your wood pieces.

Use a measuring tape to mark the dimensions on the wood with a pencil or marker. Double-check your measurements before cutting to avoid any mistakes. Depending on your bench design, you will typically need to cut pieces for the seat, legs, supports, and any additional features like armrests or backrests.

Step 4: Assemble the Frame

Use a Drill

Begin assembling your bench frame by attaching the legs to the supports. Use a drill to create pilot holes for the screws or nails, which will help prevent the wood from splitting.

Apply wood glue to the joints for added stability before fastening the pieces together. Make sure the frame is square and level as you work, adjusting as needed to ensure a sturdy base.

Step 5: Attach the Seat

Once the frame is complete, it’s time to attach the seat. Lay the seat boards across the frame and secure them using screws or nails. Start at one end and work your way to the other, maintaining even spacing between the boards.

This will allow for proper drainage and expansion due to weather changes. Ensure the seat is securely fastened and stable before moving on to the next step.

Step 6: Add Additional Features

If your design includes additional features such as a backrest or armrest, now is the time to install them.

Measure and cut the necessary pieces, then attach them to the bench frame using the same method of pilot holes, screws or nails, and wood glue. Ensure all additional components are level and securely fastened for comfort and safety.

Step 7: Sand the Surfaces

Use Sandpaper or a Sander

With the assembly complete, the next step is sanding all the wood surfaces to remove rough edges and splinters. Use sandpaper or a sander to smooth the edges and surfaces, starting with a coarse grit and progressing to a finer grit for a polished finish. This step is important for both aesthetic purposes and user comfort.

Step 8: Apply a Finish

Apply a suitable finish to protect your bench from the elements and enhance its appearance. Depending on your preference, options include outdoor wood stain, sealant, or paint. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application, and make sure to apply the finish in a well-ventilated area. Allow adequate drying time between coats for a durable, long-lasting finish.

Step 9: Inspect Your Work

After completing the finish, inspect your bench thoroughly to ensure all components are securely fastened and there are no loose parts. Check for any areas that may need additional sanding or touch-ups. Ensure your bench is safe and sturdy before placing it in its designated outdoor area.

Step 10: Place and Enjoy Your Bench

The final step is to place your newly built bench in your garden or backyard. Choose a location that complements your outdoor space and provides a comfortable seating area. Once in place, step back and admire your handiwork. Your bench is now ready to be enjoyed by you, your family, and friends for years to come.

By following these 10 easy steps, you can build a sturdy and stylish bench to enhance your outdoor space.

5 Additional Tips and Tricks

Such as Cedar
  1. Choose the Right Wood: If the bench will be used outdoors, opt for durable, weather-resistant wood such as cedar or redwood. Hardwoods like oak or maple work best for indoor benches.
  2. Use Proper Joinery Techniques: Reinforce your bench structure with strong joinery methods such as mortise and tenon, dowel joints, or pocket holes to ensure stability and longevity.
  3. Sand Smoothly: Ensure all surfaces are sanded smoothly to prevent splinters and to create an even surface for staining or painting. Start with a coarse grit and gradually move to a finer grit for the best results.
  4. Apply a Protective Finish: To protect the wood from the elements, apply a waterproof sealant, varnish, or outdoor paint to outdoor benches. A clear coat can preserve the wood’s natural beauty on indoor benches.
  5. Level and Secure: Before attaching legs or other supporting structures, ensure that all components are level and square. This prevents wobbling and enhances the bench’s overall stability and comfort.

With these additional tips and tricks, you can take your bench-building skills to the next level and create a beautiful and functional seating area for your outdoor space.

5 Things You Should Avoid

  1. Using Inadequate Wood: Avoid using low-quality or untreated wood, especially for outdoor benches. These materials can deteriorate quickly when exposed to the elements, reducing your bench’s lifespan.
  2. Neglecting Pilot Holes: Skipping the step of drilling pilot holes can cause the wood to split when screws or nails are inserted. Always pre-drill pilot holes to ensure clean and secure connections between wood pieces.
  3. Ignoring Edge Sanding: Do not overlook the importance of sanding the edges and corners of your bench. Rough edges can cause splinters and make the bench uncomfortable to use, so ensure all surfaces are smooth.
  4. Misaligned Cuts: Inaccurate measurements and cuts can lead to misaligned pieces, which may compromise the bench’s structural integrity. Double-check your measurements and cuts to ensure precision and a professional finish.
  5. Inadequate Finishing: Failing to properly finish your bench with a suitable outdoor stain, sealant, or paint can leave it vulnerable to moisture, UV rays, and other environmental factors. Apply a durable finish to protect and preserve your bench over time.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure your bench-building project is a success and enjoy your new outdoor seating area for many years to come.


How to build benches is a rewarding project that combines functionality with the beauty of craftsmanship.

By following a detailed step-by-step guide, employing proper joinery techniques, and avoiding common pitfalls, you can construct a sturdy and elegant bench that will enhance your outdoor or indoor space.

Whether you choose to build a simple garden bench or a more intricate design, the key elements remain the same: selecting high-quality materials, ensuring precise measurements and cuts, and applying a protective finish.

With patience and attention to detail, building a bench can be both enjoyable and fulfilling.

You’ll end up with a piece of furniture that you, your family, and your friends can appreciate for years to come.

Photo of author

Adrian Green

Adrian is a woodworking hobbyist and has loved Woodworking since he was 10 years old. Back then in childhood, his father used to have a furniture shop. He used to help his dad and learned a lot from him about how to fix woodworking furniture, basic carpentry knowledge and also about how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others.

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