Build a Simple Homestead Bench


farm bench resize

Farm bench, image by Renée Benoit

I come in from the back four-ty after another  day of rain and my boots are a muddy mess. There I am trying to hang on to the wall to stabilize myself while I wrench my boots off. A bench! My kingdom for a bench! First, I look everywhere to buy one and see only shi-shi benches that cost a fortune. It doesn’t take long for me to give up and decide to design and build one myself.

First, I measure my mudroom space. A 3-foot long bench that is 20 inches high will work. I want a simple design to make it easy to build. The design I end up with calls for 8 pieces: 2 legs, both 18 inches tall out of a 2x12; one seat, 3 feet long also out of a 2x12; and 5 braces, (four 1-1/4 inch x 8 inches and one 28 inches from a 2x4). From this I will get a nice sturdy bench suitable for our rough and tumble homestead life. The finished size will be 20 inches tall x 3 feet long x 12 inches wide). There are more refined bench designs but those require skills I don’t have and besides, this is for our homestead not Architectural Digest.

Materials List

  • Skilsaw or wood hand saw
  • Pencil
  • Square (optional but helpful)
  • Measuring tape
  • Power sander/sandpaper
  • 16 2-1/2-inch deck screws
  • Power drill
  • Wood glue
  • Lumber: One 2 inch x12 inch plank at least 60 inches long and one 2 inchx4 inch board at least 28 inches long; your choice of wood.

I say at least because it’s always good to purchase a little bit more to use for testing stains or to make sure you have wiggle room to get your measurements correct. I used ordinary Douglas fir because it’s easy to cut and sand and it’s cheaper, too. When I bought my lumber, I sighted down the length to make sure that the piece I was buying was not warped. I want the straightest board I can get. It always takes me a few rejects to find them.

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