Home Improvement | 24 July 2015Traditional Five-Board Bench Share article facebook twitter google pinterest Source – Black & Decker Complete Guide to Outdoor Carpentry Updated 2nd Edition Here’s a basic bench from the Black & Decker Complete Guide to Outdoor Carpentry Updated 2nd Edition that is easy to make and infinitely scalable. The five-board bench is a traditional design that has been built with thousands of permutations over the years. Of course it was traditionally used indoors, but it is ideal for extra cookout party seating, as an outdoor plant stand, or even a garden bench along a pathway. The construction could not be simpler, which makes this the perfect project for someone looking to build their woodworking skills and cut their teeth on a surefire success. Expect to spend no more than an afternoon putting this project together—even counting the time you’ll spend in the lumber aisle of your local home center. While you’re there, you’ll be spending very little money because the easy construction translates to minimal materials. We’ve specified pine lumber for the bench, which will need to be painted or stained for outdoor use. If you will be using the bench to hold potted plants, treated lumber is the best choice—but don’t use treated lumber for seating. If you’re so inclined, you can go with more handsome, and expensive, cedar or redwood, staining them or leaving them to naturally age with a gorgeous grey patina. These woods are also naturally insect and rot resistant, making them perfect for use in an outdoor bench. Need a sturdier bench? Simply up the lumber from 1× to 2× to increase the sturdiness. Source – Black & Decker Complete Guide to Outdoor Carpentry Updated 2nd Edition Cutting List Top ¾ × 11¼ × 48″ Pine 2 Legs ¾ × 10¼ × 17¼ Pine 2 Stretchers ¾ × 5½ x47″ Materials List One 8 foot 1 × 12 pine board One 4 foot 1 × 12 pine board Exterior No. 8 × 2″ flathead wood screws Exterior wood glue Exterior-rated finishing materials MAKE THE LEGS & STRETCHERS Start by cutting the 8-foot board into one 35″ length to make the legs and one 47″ length to make the stretchers. The legs should be about 1″ narrower than the top, so you’ll need to rip 1″ off the edge of the 35″ board. Because a 1 ×12 is actually 11¼” wide, this will give you a leg blank that is 10¼” wide. Cut this in half to create two 17¼” pieces for the legs. From the 47″ board, rip-cut two 4½”-wide pieces to make the stretchers. If you don’t have access to a table saw, use a circular saw and a straightedge guide to make the rip cuts. Just make sure to cut accurately, because even a small discrepancy in the width of the board from one end to the other will be very visible. Source – Black & Decker Complete Guide to Outdoor Carpentry Updated 2nd Edition The actual strength—and durability—of the bench comes from the notches you’ll make in the legs to hold the stretchers. Lay out cutting lines for the notches, which are ¾” deep × 4″ long and will be cut on the two top corners of the leg blanks. Also lay an upside-down V that is 5″ wide and 3″ tall and centered on the bottom of each leg. Source – Black & Decker Complete Guide to Outdoor Carpentry Updated 2nd Edition Clamp the leg to a sturdy work surface and cut out the notches and the Vs with a jigsaw or hand saw. Make sure the area under the notch cuts is entirely clear before you start cutting. Use a jigsaw or circular saw to cut the 4″-long × 2½” tall tapers at the bottom ends of the stretchers. MAKE THE BENCH Assembling the bench is easy once you’ve made all the cuts. Start by attaching the legs to the inside faces of the stretchers. Draw reference lines across the outside face of each stretcher to mark the centerlines of the leg locations. Drill two evenly spaced, countersunk pilot holes equidistant along each line. Apply glue to the leg stretcher notches. Align the legs with the lines and clamp the stretchers in place. Drive No. 8 ×2″ flathead wood screws into the pilot holes. Now align the bench top, which is the full width of the 1 × 12, on the stretchers so the overhang is even. Securely clamp the top in place and double-check the overhangs to ensure that nothing has moved. Drill two evenly spaced, countersunk pilot holes centered over each leg and five evenly spaced, countersunk pilot holes along each edge into the stretchers. Source – Black & Decker Complete Guide to Outdoor Carpentry Updated 2nd Edition Make reference marks so you can duplicate the alignment and unclamp the bench top. Apply glue to the stretchers and legs along their mating areas. Replace and align the bench top, clamp in place, and drive No. 8 × 2″ flathead wood screws into the pilot holes. Hide the screw heads with wood filler for a painted bench or wood plugs for a stained bench. Sand the filler flush, and then sand the entire bench in preparation for paint or stain. See how easy it is to build your own backyard oasis. Outdoor carpentry projects using cedar, redwood, and pressure-treated pine are perfect for Do-It-Yourselfers of all skill levels, since the materials are easy to work with, and the results are rewarding. Enjoy outdoor furnishings you can create yourself. Items made with quality materials last much longer and cost less, in the long run, than off-the-shelf items. With classic swings for kids and adults, arbors for gardeners and even a table that folds, there’s something in The Complete Guide to Outdoor Carpentry for everyone! Over three dozen projects are included, ranging from seating, entertaining, recreational and storage, to overheads and arbors. New projects, unique to this edition, include: 5-board bench, picnic table, folding table, outdoor occasional table, deck-railing planter, window box, Arts-and-Crafts mahogany gate, sheltered swing, outdoor serving cart, arbor and garden bridge. All the projects within this book can be built in a weekend with ordinary power hand tools and materials available at any local home center or hardware store. Each project has complete construction plans and directions for foolproof results–so jump right in and make your backyard unique! Buy from an Online Retailer Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.