A few weeks ago, my husband and I finished our DIY Outdoor Dining Table. We FINALLY got around to building an outdoor bench to go with it! It was a fairly quick and easy project. If it weren’t for all the drying time between wood filler, paint, and stain coats, we could have knocked this baby out in an afternoon.
Ana White’s plans include a shopping list for both a 63″ and 96″ long bench. We decided to be difficult and combine the 2. Our bench top is 96″, which is just 3″ shy of the full length of our table. And our legs are 63″ wide, so the bench is able to slide under the table. We wanted plenty of length for seating, while still being able to push the bench in and out of the way if needed. These measurements were just right for us.
DIY OUTDOOR BENCH
I’m going to walk you through our build, but make sure to head over to Ana White’s plans to get full shopping and cut lists.
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Step One: Assemble “X” Legs
The base of our bench needed to be 63″ to be able to slide under our dining table, so we followed the 63″ bench cut list. We made all of our cuts and then I painted each piece. I learned my lesson on our dining table.. It would have been impossible to get good coverage in all those nooks and crannies if I waited until the bench was built.
I used Sherwin Williams Weathershield Exterior paint in Satin. The color is Iron Ore. I didn’t want the outdoor bench to get lost visually against all the wood of the table so I opted for paint instead of stain on the legs. The dark grey is a nice contrast.
I laid all our cut pieces on a scrap piece of cardboard and rolled the paint on with a foam roller. This gave me a nice smooth finish.
Once all the pieces were dry, we started assembling the “X” legs. We used finishing nails and Gorilla wood glue to secure each board.
This step went fairly quickly. We had all three “X” legs assembled in about 10 minutes.
Step 2: Create Pocket Holes
If you don’t already have a Kreg Pocket-Hole Jig, now is the time to get one. I know I said it on our last project, but seriously. It’s amazing! We used our Kreg Jig to make pocket holes in both the 1×3 stretchers and our “X” legs. We took a tip from Whitney and decided to attach our “X” legs to the bench top using pocket hole screws. For us, this was much easier than drilling into the bench top to secure the legs.
Each “X” got 3 pocket holes, and the stretcher boards got 2 on each end.
Step 3: Attach the Legs
To figure out our spacing between each leg, we secured our 1×3 spacer boards with just one screw in each side. We flipped the base over and centered the whole thing on the underside of our 2×6 seat boards. We used our speed square to ensure the legs were straight.
My husband used 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws in the outside pocket holes first. Then we removed the 1×3 stretcher boards so he could screw into the legs’ middle holes. Once all three legs were attached, we reattached the 1×3 stretchers, this time using 2 screws in each end.
Step 4: Finish Assembly
We secured the 2 1×2 supports by countersinking 2″ wood screws.
And we attached the feet with finishing nails and wood glue.
At this point we flipped the outdoor bench over to see how sturdy it was. It was okay, but my husband felt that it needed something. We decided to drill 2 3″ deck screws into the bottom of each leg. These countersunk screws eliminated any side to side movement and made the whole thing feel much more stable.
Step 5: Finishing Touches
Since lots of kiddos and people in swim suits will be using this outdoor bench, we took extra time to sand the seat really well. My husband started with a coarse grit sandpaper and our belt sander. After all the rough spots were sanded out, he used a fine grit sandpaper with our palm grip sander. I went through with wood filler and filled any notches or grooves where the sanders couldn’t reach. I also filled all the nail and screw holes on the legs. Once the wood filler was dry, we went over it with a fine sandpaper one more time and touched up paint on the base.
I used the same stain concoction for the seat as I did for our outdoor table.. A mixture of 3 parts Minwax Weathered Oak, 1 part Espresso. After I applied the stain, I whitewashed the seat to give it a nice weathered look. When both the stain and whitewash coats were dry, I applied 2 coats of Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane to the underside and top of the seat boards.
We allowed the bench to dry overnight and it was good to go! We placed it under our table and couldn’t wait to use it. The boys have asked to have a “picnic” at our new outdoor bench and table almost everyday! The bench is plenty long for the whole family and it’s sturdy too. We had planned to only build one bench and buy chairs for the other side of the table, but we love it so much, we’re going to build another one!
Don’t forget to check out our DIY Outdoor Dining Table and let me know if you build an outdoor dining set of your own! I’d love to see it! Please comment below with any questions and as always, share away!! Happy building, friends!