A simple bench any one can make?


That's a bold title and statement but, I believe the majority of people who read this , and want to make one, could do so. Time is always against me, and with the fact that I have just moved home , needing furniture and me being me! I have to build it myself, With the limited time I have.
Next on my list to make was a TV unit. I wanted something quick and easy. A bench seemed like a good idea. It would house my TV, and I had no use for an under shelf, since I don't use a DVD player or cable box , everything gets streamed . 

So I thought perfect! It'll do for now , and if I choose to make a TV unit in the future, the bench can be used else where in the house. When you think about , a bench can be used for a lot . Extra seating, shoe bench, coffee table, end of bed bench, a side table and im sure there's more uses, that you can think of!

Original I was going to use one wide, thick slab for the top, but after much debate, I decided to use what I had to hand, and saved myself money, time and 2 hour journey. In this instance I had oak boards (170 x 20mm) and some 50mm thick Oak scrap.

Traditionally the top of the bench was a softer wood and a hardwood was used for the legs. But as I've said I wanted to use materials I already had. The bench is/was an experiment in design, speed and strength. And I think it turned out alright . I learnt a few things and had some fun doing so.
Below is a brief summary of how I made the bench and a YouTube video, for those who want to watch the process.

I started with 2 boards (170 X 20mm) . I cut these to 1219mm, and added a chamfer to the inside edge join. I cut the 2 underside lats to 320mm and cut a bevel on each side, and cleaned them up with the plane.

I clamped the 2 boards together , marked out for the pilot holes to receive the rose head nails and began drilling them. 

Normally I would glue boards together but, for quickness and experimentation, I didn't . On the underside I measured down from each end 160mm and squared a line across the boards, this line is to set the lat underneath ready to be drilled and secured. I cleaned up the boards before I added any nails. I lined up the lat underneath, and used 2 nails to secure it, while I drilled the rest of the pilot holes. I added the nails, then I removed the 2 nails I used to hold the board and drilled the rest of the pilot holes and added the remainder of the nails, I then clenched the nails ( bent them over ).

I marked the corners and rounded them off with my chisel. I then followed up with my Shinto rasp and sandpaper.

I marked out for the round tenon holes, 85mm (centre of each board) . I marked out the sight lines (32°) and set a bevel at 15°. I used a 32mm bit and began to drill. I stopped and checked often to see I was drilling at 15°. 

Next I started the legs. I cut these at 50 X 50mm. I measured down 70mm then squared a line around the leg, I measured down 25mm from the first line , and squared another line around. The first line was to cut the shoulders of the tenons. I removed the cheeks which left me with a square tenon.

I removed all corners of the tenon with a saw which created more corners. I then paired down all the corners with a chisel. 

I used a Shinto rasp and some 60 grit sandpaper , to finish rounding off the tenon. As I done this I checked the fit of the tenon often .

Once the tenons where cut I began to add bevel to the shoulders , this is so the shoulders won't stop the tenon fully fitting.

I shaped the legs next . I drew a circle on the bottom of the legs ( 32mm ), then I removed each corner of the legs, bevelling down to the circle I drew. I removed as much material as possible with a axe then finished up with the plane. 

I then planed all the face sides down the circle. I split some wedges from the off cuts of the rails . I glued and wedged the legs and cut of the butts of the tenons . 

I wedged the legs level, and used a scrap piece of wood as a guide. I cut just over half way.

I then turned the bench upside down, and finished all the cuts. I also put a small chamfer on each leg, to stop the legs catching on anything and splintering.

A final sanding and some osmo oil and hey presto! One bench!

Since building the bench, I think there may be another one being built. There so useful and adaptable around the house , and of course easy to build.


  1. Thank you very much, it´s really a great article and video, It´s very generous of you to share this work and experience.
    Personally I loved this simple design as a furniture piece, but I can´t wait to use it as a workbench.
    Cheers from Colombia.

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