Steve loves to build things. He loves to come up with his own original projects, and he also loves to be inspired by other projects to create his own version (like our DIY outdoor bench). Recently we were on a quest to find a modern wooden bench that we liked for our home, and we spotted this one from Crate and Barrel – known as the Paloma II:
It’s really beautiful with reclaimed wood from Brazil and Australia – this wooden bench is also $999. We loved it but wanted the design to be slightly different, and changed the wood from reclaimed to pine to keep the cost down (and pine is readily available to us). This wooden bench cost around $60 for us to make, based on the supplies we have on hand. Even if you have to buy a few things, it’s going to be way less than $999! Here’s how we made our version!
Modern Wooden Bench
Gather These Supplies
- Finished pine – see Cut List below
- Wood glue – Liquid Nails or Titebond III (or other adhesive made for wood)
- Orbit sander or foam sanding block – 120 grit
- Wood screws, 3″ – 8
- FolkArt Home Decor Wax, 8 oz bottles – Antique and Clear
- Staining rag
- Cork circles, 2″ – 4
- Miter saw/chop saw
- Table saw
- Wood clamps
- 2 – 1″ x 6″ x 8′ pine boards cut into two equal pieces each (1″ x 6″ x 4′ each)
- 1 – 1″ x 4″ x 8′ pine board cut into two equal pieces (1″ x 4″ x 4′)
- 2 -1″ x 2″ x 6′ pine boards cut into two pieces each: one that is 15 3/4″ long and another that is 49 1/2″ long
- 5 – 1”x 6”x 8′ pine boards cut into (22) 1″ x 6″ x 10″ pieces and (22) 1″ x 6″ x 10 ½” pieces
*if you are a newbie woodworker, remember that wood sizes are given as the cut from a log. For example, a 2″ x 4″ is cut that size, from a rough log but then it dries smaller (around 1.5″ x 3.5″). So your EXACT measurements may vary, though they will be close.
We’re going to start with the top of the bench and I’ll show you how it’s assembled below. Your first question might be – “why didn’t you just use two solid pieces of wood?” The answer is because we liked the grain of the wood and wanted to create a little variation.
I wanted to give you the diagram first and then delve into the instructions. The top of the bench is going to be three boards glued together layered on top of three boards glued together, with trim around the edge. So here’s what you’ll do.
Take your two 1″ x 6″ x 8′ and 1″ x 4″ x 8′ finished pine boards and cut each into two pieces. This will give you six pieces: four that are 1″ x 6″ x 4′ and two that are 1″ x 4″ x 4′.
Glue two 1″ x 6″ x 4′ together on top of each other, two 1″ x 6″ x 4′ together on top of each other, and two 1″ x 4″ x 4′ together on top of each other. That’s three separate pieces of wood – hold them together with clamps while they dry several hours.
Lay the planks side by side and glue them together lengthwise – clamp and let dry.
Now you’re going to trim the top to give it a finished look! You’ll use two finished 1″ x 2″ x 6’s. Out of each trim pieces you can trim a long side and a short side of the bench. Using a miter saw, cut one of the 1″ x 2″ x 6′ boards into two pieces: one that is 15 3/4″ long and another that is 49 1/2″ long. Repeat with the other board. Cut 45° angles on the ends of all four trim pieces.
Use wood glue to attach the frame pieces to the outer edges of the bench top and clamp. Let dry. Sand the bench top with 120-grit sandpaper. You can use an orbital sander or a foam sanding block – this will make for a nice smooth surface.
The next step is to cut the pieces for the legs.
Each leg takes 22 pieces – 11 of one size and 11 of another. Using a miter saw, cut your five 1″ x 6″ x 8’s into (22) 1″ x 6″ x 10″s and (22) 1″ x 6″ x 10 ½”s.
Then take the (22) 1″ x 6″ x 10″s and, using a table saw, mill off a ½” strip off the 10″ side, bring it down to 5 1/2″ wide.
Take two of the 1″ x 6″ x 10 ½”s and glue them to the underside of the bench top. Mine are attached 6″ in from each end and centered.
Take two of your milled 10” pieces and glue them in the center of the 10 ½” pieces. This should give you a ¼” boarder all the way around each 10” piece. Finally, glue a 10 ½” piece on top of each 10” piece. Let the glue cure for a few hours; these are your bench leg bases (just as you see in the image above).
Drill four pilot holes at the bottom of each leg as shown – screw in (4) 3” wood screws in to really anchor down the bench leg bases.
Your leg bases are made up of three pieces each, so to complete, each leg will take 19 more pieces each: (10) 10” pieces and (9) 10 ½” pieces. Start with a 10” piece and then glue a 10 ½” piece to it, remember to center the 10” piece on the 10 ½” piece to give you a ¼” boarder all the way around. This give the staggered look to the legs. Continue gluing the alternating sized pieces of wood and clamp. You will start with a 910” piece and end with a 10” piece. Your wooden bench is coming together!
After the glue on the legs cures flip the bench top over and attach the legs with glue (tip: put weight on top of the legs to help the adhesion process); let the glue cure overnight.
The next day flip the bench over and your wooden bench assembly is complete.
To stain the bench, I used FolkArt Home Decor Wax (Antique). Rag the wax on to get the shade you like.
Then I ragged on the FolkArt Home Decor Clear Wax just on the bench top to give another level of protection and a nice sheen!
Finish your wooden bench with cork on the feet to protect your floors and keep from sliding. Use wood glue to attach the circles.
What do you think about our modern wooden bench? We love it and it’s proudly displayed in our home!
We LOVE the grain on top . . .
And the wooden legs make a big statement. If you make this project – let us know in the comments!