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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

the $15 bench

Does it annoy you when you are looking through pinterest and you see a great picture that says something like "plans to make this _____ for cheap!", and then you go to the link and they are so excited because they only spent $125 on materials to build that. I know it is frustrating to me, because I am cheap! There are some things that I want to spend $10-$20, and not much more.

If you're like me, friend, then today is your lucky day!
To build your own bench, you will need the following:

(4) 2x4s (I buy the super cheap ones) - $10.00
(1) package of mending plates - $3.58
2" screws
Stain of your choice - we used Minwax Jacobean (leftover from our bed and headboard)
You will need to make the following cuts:
(4) @ 48", (2) @ 14.25", (4) @ 14", 2 @ 9", 1 @ 34", and 1@ 36"

First up, make your sides by screwing a 9" board in between (2) 14" boards.
 Then, center a 14.25" board on top of this "H" and screw together.  You should end up with two "A"s.
Now, your mending plates come into play.
Lay each of the "A"s upside down, place the 34" board between them, and screw them together, using the mending plates.
 Your "bench" should look like this now:
 Now, will we add the second support by flipping the bench on it's side, and screwing the 36" board between the 9" boards on your "H"s.
**Note: I made this bench to put plants and other decorations on it for my porch, not primarily for seating.  If you intend to use this bench for seating, be sure it is secure and consider adding diagonal supports underneath.

 Progress...
 Take your (4) 48" boards and space them evenly across the top, to create the seat of your bench.
Screw them into place, and voila! You have a bench! Easy, right?
 I stained my bench in the garage with some cardboard underneath to protect the ground, starting on the bottom, and then flipping over to stain the top.  For this project, I used a foam brush to apply the stain, and the color came out much richer than when I used a rag to apply it to our bedframe.
 Because it's been so cold, I let it sit in the garage to dry for about a week, and finally put it out on our front porch today!
I am going to see how it does with the elements, and I may choose to apply a poly to it as well.  But, the "aging old bench" look may end up being the winner. We'll see!
This bench is perfect for holiday decorations, and I can't wait to dress it up for Christmas!! So Soon!

39 comments:

  1. Nice Erin! I think I'll build a porch so I can put this bench on it!

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  2. Super cute and easy! Thanks for the tip - found you on Pinterest!

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    1. Love this. I have been looking for a simple bench to make. I've found it.
      Tess

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  3. Super fun idea! I love how inexpensive it is. I just got a Kreg Jig for Christmas, so I might see if I can use your plan and the Kreg together to make a fabulous bench. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  4. We have built two of these, I am cheap too, so I work for a distribution company. They throw away ( argh ) wood- 2x4s. 4x4s. 2x3s. So for the low cost of about 4 bucks a bench, it is something my wife and I truly enjoy doing together. Thanks for posting such a simple, useful set of plans.

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  5. I just finished mine...it's great and I am so proud..thanks for the step by step pics..pam

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  6. I just finished my bench...and I am so proud..thanks for the pictures, they made it easy.

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  7. So cute! Can't wait to try this project!

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  8. What exactly do I ask for when I go to Home Depot for the wood? I wonder if they can cut if for me into the sizes I need?

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    1. Hi Emily! Just go down to the lumber section and find an employee and tell them you need assistance with a few cuts. There's usually a big miter saw station near the back of the store in the lumber section.

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  9. Made this bench yesterday and it turned out exactly how I wanted and so easy to make. Thank you for posting it!

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  10. I am going to try this. The tutorial looks superb. Thanks for the great, step-by-step photos.

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  11. Your first picture showing the construction of the "h" pieces is incorrect. Look at picture 2 and compare. Also, I found it easier to attach the 34" board to the 14.25" boards before attaching the "h" pieces as you will need access to all four holes on the mending plate.

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    Replies
    1. just built it and have the exact same comments. if you did what i did when it came to the lower cross beam i just unscrewed the 14.25" boards and attached them to the 34" board with the (now) correct orientation and put the whole thing back in.

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    2. I sadly figured this out when I was going to attach the 36 inch board and then a screw refused to come out so it took some figuring out for it to work. This added a good hour to the project that should have only taken an hour in the first place. Blah! Husband was super annoyed my this too. (he is new to woodworking)

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  12. Need a total of (8) 2x4s.... NOT (4)

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    1. Why do you need (8)? A standard 2x4 is 8'.

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    2. Yep. All you need is 1 2x4x8 for the top pieces.

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  13. Can this bench support weight if someone sits on it?

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    1. Honestly, this bench has mostly been decorative so I haven't had anyone sit on it for more than a few seconds.

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  14. Well, I'm not Anonymous, my name is Anthony, and I will be building this bench this week!

    My question was the same as Ian... I guess I'm going to try to see if some weight can be held on the bench! If this build isn't for that purpose (which you stated it wasn't); you can always add corner joist supporters down beneath.

    But, THANK YOU FOR THIS POST! I've been looking to purchase a bench for a long time! Without success! and I love DIY, so... this is perfect!!!!

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  15. Yes! Thank you for adding that, Anthony!

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    1. You're welcome. And thank you very much for adding this DIY bench. Building one as we speak! :) -- Anthony.

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  16. Hello Ian - see Anthony's comment below about adding corner joists if you plan to use this for seating.

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  17. Can I make an 80" bench the same way, or does it need another H in the center?

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    1. To be honest, I am not sure. You could add diagonal supports and/or another "h" in the center. Thanks for stopping by!

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  18. Nice job for your enclosed area. I will build a similar bench to put in the dog's fenced in area. I would use treated 2x4s and outdoor stain such as Olympic's Naturaltone Exterior Sealant. I like the redwood stain but you can get cedar or natural. I don't think that Minwax is made for outdoor projects. You would need a stain that is UV tolerant.

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  19. I made four of these and used them for a family gathering recently and used them as functional benches. Two adults sat on them with no problem what so ever. I wasn't sure at first as I was building how sturdy they would be but once completed they are very sturdy.

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  20. This looks sooo easy and is exactly what I wanted! Thanks for posting!!!

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  21. This bench is fairly easy and has great pictures and directions but....it doesn't cost any were close to the listed amount): I bought the cheapest 2x4's and the same stain brand and it cost me around 90 bucks in supplies from home Depot

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    1. That's a lot! 2x4s should only be $3-$4 each and the stain is no more than $10. Do you know what type of wood your 2x4s are?

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  22. We used two 10 footers (Douglas fir) and they were $4.99...but the screws two inch wood screws were $9, the molding brackets were $10.96, stain was $9...we did get a clear seal that was $15 (so that bumped it up a bit). But we needed a stain brush and that was $10 plus we got sand paper squares for the splintered edges. So I just added it up and my husband was exaggerating a little on the 90 dollars but still around 70 dollars unfortunately):

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    1. those straps should be $0.80-$2 each

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  23. I am using this design for seating. My husband is 6'4" and 275lbs and he sits on them without any signs of them breaking. Some supports on the legs may be a good idea just in case

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for sharing! I'm so glad they're working well for you!

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  24. Great plan/description ! - thank you- ! just what I was looking for- might adjust for 36" length bench

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  25. I am so glad I found this the tutorial to make the bench. Good job and thank you for sharing.

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