How to Make a Wood Bench With Back

Are you looking to add a touch of rustic charm to your backyard or garden? You may want to create a cozy seating area on your patio. Whatever the reason, learning how to make a wood bench with back is a fun and rewarding DIY project that will give you a beautiful piece of furniture for years to come.

How to Make a Wood Bench With Back

Creating a wooden bench with a backrest is a rewarding project that combines the joy of woodworking with the satisfaction of crafting something functional and beautiful for your home or garden.

This guide will walk you through the basic steps required to construct a sturdy and comfortable wood bench, perfect for enjoying quiet moments outdoors or offering additional seating for guests.

Let’s get started on creating a piece that will enhance your living space and last for years to come.

What are the Benefits of Building a Wood Bench with Back?

Building your own wooden bench has numerous benefits, both practical and personal. Here are some reasons why creating a wood bench with a back is a great idea:

  • Customization: When you make something from scratch, you have the freedom to customize it according to your preferences. You can choose the type of wood, its color and finish, and even the size and design of your bench.
  • Cost-effective: Purchasing a high-quality wooden bench can be expensive. Making your own can save you money and still have a beautiful piece of furniture.
  • Personal Satisfaction: There’s nothing quite like the feeling of accomplishment that comes with completing a project on your own. Building a wood bench with a back will give you a sense of pride and satisfaction every time you use it.
  • Improves Woodworking Skills: If you’re new to woodworking, building a wooden bench is a great way to improve your skills. It’s a simple project that can help you learn the basics of measuring, sawing, drilling, and assembly.
  • Durable: A well-constructed wooden bench can last for years, making it a long-term investment for your home.
A Well-constructed Wooden Bench Can Last for Years

These are just some of the benefits of building a wood bench with a back. Now, let’s explore the steps for creating your own.

Materials and Tools Required

Before starting your wood bench project, ensure you have all the necessary materials and tools. Here’s a list of what you’ll need:


  • 2×4 lumber (pressure-treated or cedar)
  • 1×4 lumber (pressure-treated or cedar)
  • 2-1/2″ pocket hole screws
  • Wood glue
  • Sandpaper (medium grit)
  • Exterior wood stain or paint


  • Table saw or circular saw
  • Drill with a pocket hole jig attachment
  • Clamps
  • Orbital sander or sanding block
  • Paintbrushes or foam brushes
  • Safety equipment (gloves, safety glasses, dust mask)

Now that you have everything you need, let’s get started building your wood bench.

10 Easy Steps on How to Make a Wood Bench With Back

Step 1. Measure and Cut the Lumber

Using a table saw or circular saw, cut two pieces of 2×4 lumber to your desired length for the bench seat. These pieces will serve as the front and back supports of the seat. Ensure the cuts are precise for a uniform finish. Additionally, two pieces of 1×4 lumber were cut to the same length for the backrest supports.

Desired Length for the Bench Seat

Step 2.  Create Pocket Holes:

Pocket holes play a crucial role in assembling your wooden bench with a sturdy structure. Take the pieces of 2×4 lumber you’ve cut for the front and back supports of the seat, along with the 1×4 backrest supports. Using your drill and a pocket hole jig attachment, create evenly spaced pocket holes along one edge of each piece.

These holes will allow you to connect the pieces securely with screws, giving your bench a clean, seamless look with hidden joints. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on your pocket hole jig for the best results. Remember, precision in this step is key to ensuring a strong and durable assembly of your wood bench.

Step 3. Attach the Seat Supports:

After creating pocket holes, the next step is to assemble the seat supports. Position the two pieces of 2×4 lumber parallel to each other on a flat surface, ensuring they are spaced appropriately for the width of your bench. Apply wood glue along the edges of these pieces to enhance the bond.

Then, using 2-1/2″ pocket hole screws, attach the seat supports together. Make sure the screws are tightly secured and the structure is sturdy before proceeding. This will form the base frame of your bench seat, which will support the seating slats and backrest.

Step 4. Fix the Seating Slats:

Now that the seat supports are securely attached, it’s time to add the seating slats. Cut several pieces of 1×4 lumber to the desired depth of your bench seat. Arrange these slats perpendicular to the seat supports, leaving a small gap between each slat for water drainage and expansion. Starting from one end, apply a thin bead of wood glue on the tops of the seat supports where the slats will rest.

Place the slats on the supports one by one, ensuring they are evenly spaced and aligned. Secure each slat with 2-1/2″ pocket hole screws drilled into the supports from the top. Wipe away any excess glue immediately with a damp cloth. This step not only adds functionality to your bench but also begins to reveal its final appearance.

Step 5. Construct the Backrest:

With the seating area of your bench ready, it’s time to focus on the backrest. First, take the two pieces of 1×4 lumber you cut earlier for the backrest supports. Position these vertically at either end of the bench seat, aligning them with the rear seat support. Use clamps to hold them in place temporarily. Drill pocket holes at the bottom end of each backrest support to attach them to the bench’s base frame.

Drill Pocket Holes at the Bottom End

Secure them with 2-1/2″ pocket hole screws, ensuring they are perpendicular to the seat for a comfortable back angle. Next, cut additional 1×4 lumber pieces for the backrest slats. Attach these horizontally across the backrest supports, using the same method as the seating slats, with a small gap between each for a uniform look. This will complete the structural assembly of your bench, giving it form and function.

Step 6. Sanding for a Smooth Finish

Now that your wood bench with back is assembled, the next step is to ensure it’s smooth to the touch and ready for finishing. Start by using a medium-grit sandpaper to sand down the entire bench.

Focus on areas where the wood may splinter or where rough edges are present, including around the pocket holes. Sanding not only prepares the surface for staining or painting but also prevents future splinters. An orbital sander can make this job quicker and more uniform, but a sanding block will work as well.

Remember to sand in the direction of the wood grain for the best results. Once you’re satisfied with the smoothness, wipe down the bench with a clean cloth to remove any sawdust.

Step 7. Apply Stain or Paint for Protection and Aesthetics

After sanding, it’s time to protect and beautify your bench with exterior wood stain or paint. Select a color or finish that matches your outdoor décor or personal preference. Using paintbrushes or foam brushes, apply the stain or paint evenly across all surfaces of the bench.

Be Sure to Cover the Nooks and Crevices

Be sure to cover the nooks and crevices, particularly around the pocket holes and under the seating slats. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and drying times for best results.

Applying multiple thin coats rather than a single thick coat will yield a more durable and attractive finish. Once dry, your wood bench will not only be protected from the elements but will also have an enhanced appearance that complements your outdoor space.

Step 8. Add the Finishing Touches

For the final step in creating your wood bench with a back, consider adding finishing touches to elevate its design and comfort. Consider installing armrests on both ends by cutting additional pieces of 2×4 lumber to the desired length and attaching them with pocket hole screws to the outer sides of the backrest supports.

Also, add waterproof cushions or pillows for added comfort and style. Lastly, applying a sealant over the paint or stain will provide an extra layer of protection against the weather, ensuring that your bench retains its beauty for years to come. Now, with the bench complete, it’s ready to take its place in your outdoor space, serving as a testament to your craftsmanship and a cozy spot for relaxation.

Step 9. Enjoy Your New Bench

With the finishing touches applied and your bench fully assembled and protected, the final step is enjoying the fruits of your labor. Position your new wood bench in a prime spot in your outdoor space where it can be both used and admired.

Position Your New Wood Bench

Whether it’s placed in a secluded corner of your garden for quiet reflection, by the side of a bustling backyard barbecue for additional seating, or on a porch for watching sunsets, your bench is more than just a piece of furniture; it’s a personal creation that enhances your outdoor living experience.

Take pride in your workmanship and the beauty it adds to your outdoor space, knowing that your bench is not just built to last but also to create lasting memories.

Step 10. Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance is key to ensuring your wood bench with back remains in prime condition, year after year. To start, inspect your bench at the beginning and end of each season for any signs of wear or damage, such as loose screws, cracks, or peeling paint/stain.

Tighten loose fittings and promptly address minor repairs to prevent them from becoming major issues. Additionally, consider reapplying a sealant or protective finish once a year to shield against moisture and UV damage. Lastly, cleaning your bench regularly with a mild soap and water solution will help keep it looking its best.

By following these maintenance practices, your wood bench will continue to be a functional and aesthetically pleasing addition to your outdoor space for many years to come. 

5 Additional Tips and Tricks

Selecting the Appropriate Type of Wood
  1. Choose the Right Wood Type: Selecting the appropriate type of wood is critical for the durability and appearance of your bench. Hardwoods like teak, cedar, or redwood are excellent choices for outdoor furniture due to their natural resistance to decay and pests. Softwoods can also be used but may require more frequent maintenance and protective treatments.
  2. Pre-drill Holes to Avoid Splitting: When attaching the pieces together, pre-drilling holes slightly smaller than your screws can prevent the wood from splitting. This step is especially important in thinner pieces where the integrity of the wood can be compromised by direct screwing.
  3. Use Galvanized or Stainless Steel Hardware: To ensure that your bench withstands the elements, opt for galvanized or stainless steel screws, bolts, and hinges. These materials resist rust and corrosion, safeguarding the structural integrity of your bench over time.
  4. Incorporate Ergonomic Design: For enhanced comfort, consider the backrest’s curvature and the seat’s height. An angled backrest and a seat height of approximately 17-19 inches from the ground can provide optimal comfort for most individuals. Adding a slight curve to the seat can also improve seating comfort.
  5. Customize with Personal Touches: Lastly, personalize your bench with unique design elements or decorations. Consider carving designs into the wood, adding a plaque with a meaningful inscription, or integrating planters at either end for a touch of greenery. These personal touches can transform your bench from a simple piece of furniture to a cherished asset in your outdoor space.

With these additional tips and tricks, your wood bench with a back will be functional and a reflection of your personal style and creativity.

5 Things You Should Avoid When Making a Wood Bench with Back

  1. Ignoring Wood Treatment: Skipping the step of treating or sealing your wood, especially if it’s a softwood, can drastically reduce the lifespan of your bench. Untreated wood is susceptible to damage from weather, insects, and rot.
  2. Neglecting Proper Measurement and Cutting: Eyeballing Measurements and cuts instead of using precise tools and methods can lead to an unstable, uncomfortable bench or simply not fitting together properly. Precision in measurement and cutting is key to a successful project.
  3. Using Inappropriate Hardware: Avoid using non-weather-resistant hardware when assembling your bench. Regular nails and screws can rust or corrode when exposed to outdoor elements, compromising the integrity and safety of your bench.
  4. Forgetting to Sand Smoothly: Failing to sand your bench thoroughly can leave rough patches, splinters, and inconsistencies in the wood, which can detract from its appearance and make it uncomfortable or even harmful to use.
  5. Overlooking Ergonomic Design: Not considering the ergonomic aspects of your bench design, such as the angle of the backrest and the height of the seat, can result in a bench that is uncomfortable to sit on for extended periods. Comfort should be a paramount consideration in the design.
Failing to Sand Your Bench Thoroughly

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure that your wood bench with a back is not only visually appealing but also functional and long-lasting.

5 Different Finishes You Can Apply to Your Wood Bench

  1. Clear Sealant: Applying a clear sealant or wood preservative can help protect your bench from moisture and UV damage while also maintaining the natural beauty of the wood.
  2. Paint: Painting your bench allows you to customize its color and style, but keep in mind that paint may require touch-ups over time as it can chip and peel with extended exposure to the elements.
  3. Stain: Staining your wood bench not only adds color but also enhances the natural patterns and grain of the wood, giving it a richer appearance.
  4. Varnish or Polyurethane: These clear finishes provide a glossy or satin sheen that can protect your bench while adding a touch of shine. However, they may require more frequent reapplication compared to other finishes.
  5. Oil Finish: Applying an oil finish can bring out the natural beauty of your wood and provide protection against moisture and UV damage. Unlike other finishes, oils penetrate deep into the wood fibers instead of forming a surface layer, making maintenance easier. There is no need to sand and strip the old finish before reapplying.

With a wide range of finishes to choose from, you can customize your wood bench with a back to suit your personal style and match your outdoor decor.


How to make a wood bench with back is more than just a DIY project; it’s an opportunity to bring comfort, style, and functionality to your outdoor space. Each step is crucial in creating a durable and aesthetically pleasing piece, from selecting the right materials to applying the final finish.

By following the detailed guidance provided, including proper maintenance practices, ergonomic design considerations, and common pitfalls to avoid, you can ensure that your bench will be a cherished addition to your garden or patio for years to come. Remember, the beauty of making your own bench lies in the final product and the personalization and care that goes into its creation.

Whether you’re an experienced woodworker or a newbie to the craft, the process of making your wood bench with a back is a rewarding endeavor that can enhance any outdoor living space.

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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