After building a partition fence to keep our dog from chewing the brake lines on our boat trailer again, I was perplexed as to what to do with the extra wood. I had a thousand ideas all rolling in at the same time...enough to drive a sane person crazy. Good thing I've never been sane! So, I decided on building this easy outdoor bench. My front porch has been lacking color and spark for a while now, so here was my chance to contribute to the neighborhood curb appeal.
7-7/16x 5 1/2" dog ear fence
letter (cardboard or wood)
2- 52 3/4" 2x4 (base)
2- 23" 2x4 (base)
2- 49 3/4" 2x4 (back bench brace upper and lower)
1- 55 3/4" 2x4 (back brace)
4- 23 1/4" 2x4 (sides)
2-19" 2x4 (sides)
9- 26" fence slats
9- 21" fence slats (you can leave these a little long and then trim after putting the bench together to allow for the recline of the upper part of the bench)
Once you have cut all the pieces, you will begin by building the bottom support base. Attach both of the 52 3/4" 2x4s and the 23" 2x4s to form a rectangle. Now, measure 4 1/2" (of the interior space, do not include the board) and place the dividing 49 3/4" 2x4 here using 2 1/2" screws. This will be the support for the back of the bench.
After you have built the bottom base support, then begin building both sides. Do this by attaching the 19" 2x4 in between the 2 23 1/2" 2x4s at 6" from the floor. You can choose to use pocket hole screws at this point, however, I just decided that since it was an outdoor bench I would drill the screws in from an angle. Now once you have this part built you are ready to begin putting it all together...really...just that easy!
At this point I took each side and attached it to the main base with 2 1/2" screws. I attached the base so that the seat would sit about 14" above the ground. Then attach the 55 3/4" 2x4 to the back with 2 1/2" screws. The will serve to help support the back of the bench and allow for an incline.
Now, here is where I will tell you to do as I say and not how I did it:) I attached the bottom slats first, however, after attaching the back of the bench, I realized it was a mistake and ending up having to move all of my bottom slats. Thank goodness the glue had not dried!
So, for this step begin building the back of the bench first. Attach each of the slats to the 49 3/4" 2x4 with the ends flush. I am so sorry that I do not have clearer pictures of this step. This project was actually moving so fast I forgot to take a picture! Once this part is complete the back will still seem a little flimsy, but it will get stronger after you attach it to the bench and attach the additional support board.
Now, place the end containing the 2x4 in the gap on the base of the bench and then allow the slats to rest on the back brace. You will attach the back of the bench using 2 1/2" screws drilled in from the side of the bottom brace. Once the bottom is secure, begin attaching the back slats to the back brace using deck screws or nails.
After all the screws were in, I attached the last brace board directly above the original back brace. This board was attached to the back brace only using 2 1/2" screws screwed in at an angle. This board is just to allow for a little extra support. If you choose to make the back slats shorter this board may not even be necessary.
For your last step...attach the bottom bench slats with deck screws or nails and sand off or trim off any excess overhang.
Now, for the monogrammed part. This is SUPER easy! Simply get a wood or cardboard letter of your choice and tack it to the bench. Then, spray paint the entire bench. I did not prime the bench because I wanted some of the wood to show through to give it an older look.
Finally, sand to a smooth finish, apply a coat of polyurethane, and all that's left is to enjoy all of your hard work!