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DIY $20 Farmhouse Dining Bench

Benches are one of my favorite things!  They’re easy/inexpensive to build, sit a lot of people – and most importantly, they stay put (my kids drag chairs around the kitchen/dining room and it drives me crazy)!

I completed these benches and table refinishing project back in December and sold them without thinking to take pictures of only the benches for my tutorial – oops!
Here’s another angle.

It measures 60″-long, 13″-deep and 18-1/2″ tall.

You’ll need 7 boards total for about $20!

20 – 2-1/2″ Wood Screws
10 – 2″ Wood Screws (attaching top to legs)
3/8″ Wood Plugs
1-1/4″ & 2-1/2″ Pockethole Screws (Kreg Jig)
Wood Glue
Finish of Choice

Miter Saw
Table Saw
Drill + Bits + 3/8″ Forstner Bit
Wood Clamps
Kreg Jig
Biscuit Joiner with Biscuits (optional)
Orbital Sander

Below are color-coded pictures of the components:

The top 4 boards are furring strips that make up the top of the bench.
The bottom 3 boards are 2×4’s that make up the legs & stretchers.

I suggest you run both long edges of all your boards through the table saw to clean and straighten them up before cutting components.  Take off enough of the furring strips to get a final measurement of 3-1/4″.


– Furring Strips –
4 – 58″ (Bench Tops)
2- 1×13″ (Bench Top Ends)

– 2×4’s –
1 – 43″ (Top Stretcher)
1 – 49″ (Bottom Stretcher)
2 – 12″ with 30-degree mitered corners (Leg Tops) *fig 1*
4 – 16-1/2″ with 10-degree ends “parallelogram” (Legs) *fig 2*
2 – 10-3/4″ with 10-degree ends “trapezoid”  (Leg Stretchers) *fig 3*

(figure 1)

(figure 2)

(figure 3)
Constructing the legs:
Now you have all your boards for the legs cut!  Please note: this is components for TWO benches and stretchers aren’t cut to size because I was cutting as I built 🙂
Sand all your boards with 150 or 180 grit paper.  Round the edges of your leg tops…

…and sand the short ends of your bottom stretcher so they’re really round.

 Clamp a straight edge down for you to set the bottom of the legs against.  Arrange your leg pieces like above with a scrap 2×4 under the middle stretcher to act as a spacer. Write a large “I” on the inside of each leg (where the stretcher is touching)…

…and measure up from the bottom of each leg and mark at 5-inches on the INSIDE.

Now, when you line up your leg stretcher, have the bottom of the stretcher matching with your 5-inch line.

 To find the area to screw into for the stretcher, mark on the outside of all 4 legs.  To do this, lay a 2×4 down and mark over the top (this accounts for the spacer block that’s currently under the stretcher).

 Next, lay down another 2×4 scrap on top of that and mark the top edge.

You can see here the marks you’ve made.  Eyeball locations for 2 screws between your marks that line up with your stretcher.  Repeat for all 4 legs.

 Get your 3/8″ forstner bit ready (size of wood plugs)!

 Drill a hole deep enough for the plugs over all the marks you’ve made on your boards.
 Set up and clamp your boards in place for legs.
Pre-drill and screw in 2 screws through the top of each leg.

Pre-drill and screw in screws through your leg stretchers.  Make sure you have your 2×4 spacer in place!

Use your Kreg Jig to make 2 holes on both ends of your top stretcher.

Before proceeding take note that the 2×4 used as a spacer in the previous steps was against the OUTSIDE face of the legs.  You will now be attaching the cross-stretchers from the INSIDE face of the legs.  Glue and center your top stretcher over the INSIDE face of the top of your legs.  Drill 2-1/2″ pocket hole screws in place.

 Center your bottom stretcher over the top of your leg stretchers.  Eyeball placements for 2 screws to attach both stretchers together.

 Use your forstner bit to create a hole for plug, pre-drill and drill screws in place on each end.

 This is what your legs should look like!  The pocket holes on the stretcher will get covered by the top.

 Brush glue in each plug hole…

 …butter plugs…

 …and tap in place.

Let dry.  Sand smooth with 180-grit paper.

Constructing the tops:
Line up your 4 bench top pieces so they’re oriented with end grain alternating (prevents cupping).  Mark your boards (a,b,c or 1,2,3) so you can  match them up later.  You can use a Kreg Jig for joining boards but I didn’t want to worry about pocket holes on the underside of my benches so I’m using a biscuit joiner.  I’m marking lines every 8″ or so on the touching boards where I need to make biscuit slots.

 Glue board edges and biscuits…

 …and clamp together.  Wipe away excess glue for easier sanding later.

 Set aside and let dry for a few hours.

 For the 1-inch end pieces I marked placements for biscuits just as before.  If you aren’t using biscuits you will want to use screws and plugs going through the small strip or doing pocket holes from the large top into the strips.

  I flipped my strips around so the top piece could help me hold the strip while cutting the biscuit slots.
 I got a little help gluing!

Clamp and leave to dry for a few hours.  Sand smooth with 180 grit paper.

 Glue over the areas of your leg base and stretchers that will come into contact with the bench top.  Center top over legs and clamp in place.
Pre-drill and screw from underside to attach top with 2″ screws.

For a bit of decoration I used nails to hammer through the tops into the legs!

 Do a final sanding if necessary and prep for the finish of your choice!

I got this table for a good deal that I built the benches for.  I needed to refinish the top and decided matching the benches to it would be nice!

 Stripping first is ideal!…

 …makes sanding a breeze!

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