How to - Projects

A perfect go-anywhere bench

John Sillaots
Photography by
Bert Klassen

Build this versatile pine bench that will do double-duty in the garden and indoors


Since chair height is typically 18", I made my bench the same height. Start by cutting two legs to length, then, in the centre of each one, mark a point 5" up from the bottom. This is where you'll be drilling a 1¼"-diameter hole that accents the top of each leg cutout. Before you drill, draw two lines beginning from the point you just marked down to the bottom of each leg, 2¼" from each side. This outlines the all-important V-shaped leg cutouts.

I used a Forstner bit (which creates a flat-bottomed hole) to drill the hole at the top of each leg cutout. Put a piece of waste wood under the bench legs as you drill to prevent ugly fuzz from developing around the bottom edges of the holes.

You can use a band saw, jigsaw or handsaw to cut the angled sides of the leg cutouts. (If you opt for a jigsaw, apply only light pressure in order to keep the blade from wandering out of square. If your jigsaw features orbital blade action, turn it to full power, since the leg stock is thick.)

The tops of the legs need notches called shoulders. These make the bench more rigid by offering greater support to the aprons, which hold the entire bench together and give it stability. Two quick cuts takes care of each one. The legs are now done, though you may opt to sand and round over the outer edges.

The seat on my bench is made of a 12"-wide piece of ¾"-thick pine. To create the handle cutouts on the bench seat, begin with two 1½"-diameter holes, removing the wood between them with a couple of jigsaw cuts. Rounding the edges of these holes makes them nicer to grab.

The aprons are next. Cut two aprons, nipping the bottoms of the corners off at a 45-degree angle for aesthetics. 


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