How to Make a Wooden Bench with a Back: A Beginner's Guide

Looking to add a comfortable and stylish bench to your outdoor space? A wooden bench with a back is a great choice! Not only does it provide a comfortable place to sit, but it also adds a touch of charm to your garden or patio. In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps to make your own wooden bench with a back.

To get started, you’ll need some basic tools and materials. The good news is that you don’t need to be an expert woodworker to make this bench. With just a few tools and some basic carpentry skills, you can create a beautiful and functional piece of furniture that will last for years to come. In the next section, we’ll go over the tools and materials you’ll need to get started.

Choosing the Right Wood

When it comes to building a wooden bench with a back, choosing the right type of wood is crucial. You want to select a sturdy and durable wood that can withstand outdoor weather conditions and last for years. Here are some factors to consider when choosing the right wood for your bench.

Types of Wood

There are several types of wood that are commonly used for outdoor furniture, but not all of them are suitable for a bench with a back. Here are some of the best options:

  • Cedar: Cedar is a popular choice for outdoor furniture because it is naturally resistant to rot and insects. It also has a beautiful natural color that can be left untreated or stained.
  • Redwood: Redwood is another durable and beautiful option for outdoor furniture. It is naturally resistant to decay and insects and has a rich, reddish color.
  • Teak: Teak is a high-end option for outdoor furniture because it is extremely durable and resistant to water, rot, and insects. It also has a beautiful golden color that can be maintained with regular oiling.
  • Pressure-treated pine: Pressure-treated pine is a more affordable option for outdoor furniture. It is treated with chemicals to resist decay and insects, but it may not last as long as other types of wood.

Wood Treatment

Even if you choose a naturally resistant wood like cedar or redwood, it is still a good idea to treat your bench with a protective finish to extend its lifespan. Here are some options:

  • Stain: Staining your bench can enhance its natural color and protect it from UV rays and water damage. Choose a stain that is specifically designed for outdoor use.
  • Paint: Painting your bench can give it a unique look and protect it from the elements. However, paint may peel or crack over time, so it may require more maintenance than other finishes.
  • Sealant: A clear sealant can protect your bench from water damage and UV rays without changing its color. Be sure to choose a sealant that is specifically designed for outdoor use.

By considering the type of wood and the right treatment, you can ensure that your wooden bench with a back will withstand the test of time and provide a comfortable and stylish seating option for your outdoor space.

Tools Needed

When building a wooden bench with a back, you will need a variety of hand and power tools to complete the project. Here is a list of the tools you will need:

Hand Tools

  • Measuring tape
  • Speed square
  • Carpenter’s pencil
  • Clamps
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint brush
  • Safety gloves and glasses
  • Wood filler and wood glue (optional)

Power Tools

  • Circular saw or miter saw
  • Drill and impact driver
  • Drill bit and countersink bit
  • Brad nailer (optional)
  • Jigsaw (optional)

Before starting the project, make sure you have all the necessary tools and that they are in good working condition. It’s also important to wear appropriate safety gear, such as gloves and glasses, when using power tools.

Using a measuring tape and speed square, mark and measure the wood pieces you will need for the bench. Use a circular saw or miter saw to cut the wood to the desired lengths. A power drill and impact driver will also be necessary to attach the pieces together with screws.

If you want to add decorative details to the bench, a jigsaw can be used to create curved or angled cuts in the wood. A brad nailer can also be used to attach pieces together without visible screws or nails.

Overall, having the right tools for the job will make building a wooden bench with a back much easier and more efficient.

Creating the Bench Design

When designing a wooden bench with a back, there are a few factors to consider to ensure that your bench is both comfortable and functional. Here are some things to keep in mind as you create your bench design:

Size and Dimensions

The size and dimensions of your bench will depend on how many people you want it to seat and where you plan to place it. A standard bench is usually around 18 inches tall, 16-20 inches deep, and 4-5 feet long. If you plan to place your bench against a wall, make sure to measure the space to ensure it will fit comfortably.

Backrest Angle

The angle of the backrest is an important factor to consider when designing your bench. A backrest angle of around 15 degrees is comfortable for most people, but you may want to adjust this angle depending on your personal preference or the intended use of the bench.

Seat Height

The height of the seat is another important consideration. A seat height of around 16-18 inches is comfortable for most people, but again, you may want to adjust this height depending on your personal preference or the intended use of the bench.


When choosing materials for your bench, make sure to select wood that is sturdy and weather-resistant, such as cedar or redwood. You may also want to consider using pressure-treated lumber to ensure your bench lasts for years to come.

Design Details

Finally, consider any additional design details you want to include, such as armrests or decorative elements. Keep in mind that these details may add to the complexity of the project, so make sure you have the necessary tools and skills to complete them.

By considering these factors and taking the time to plan out your bench design, you can create a beautiful and functional piece of outdoor furniture that will be enjoyed for years to come.

Cutting the Wood

Before you start cutting the wood, it’s important to have a clear plan in mind. Make sure you have the right measurements and the right tools for the job. Here are some tips to help you cut the wood for your wooden bench with a back:

1. Measure Twice, Cut Once

Take your time when measuring the wood. Make sure you double-check your measurements before you start cutting. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so take the time to be accurate.

2. Use the Right Tools

Make sure you have the right tools for the job. You’ll need a circular saw, a jigsaw, a drill, and a sander. Make sure your tools are sharp and in good working order.

3. Cut the Wood to Size

Once you have your measurements and your tools, it’s time to start cutting the wood. Use a circular saw to cut the boards to the right length. Use a jigsaw to cut the curves for the backrest and armrests.

4. Sand the Wood

After you’ve cut the wood, use a sander to smooth out any rough edges. Make sure the wood is sanded evenly and that there are no splinters.

5. Assemble the Bench

Once you’ve cut and sanded the wood, it’s time to assemble the bench. Follow the instructions carefully and make sure everything is lined up correctly. Use wood screws to attach the pieces together.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your wooden bench with a back is sturdy, comfortable, and looks great.

Assembling the Bench Base

Now that you have cut and sanded all the necessary pieces for your wooden bench, it’s time to start assembling the base.

  1. Begin by laying out the two legs and the stretcher pieces on a flat surface. Make sure the legs are facing the right way and that the stretcher pieces are lined up evenly.

  2. Take your drill and attach the stretcher pieces to the legs using screws. Make sure to pre-drill the holes to prevent the wood from splitting.

  3. Once the stretcher pieces are attached, add the seat support piece to the top of the stretcher pieces. Again, pre-drill the holes and use screws to attach the support piece.

  4. Flip the base over and attach the back support piece to the legs using screws. Make sure the support piece is level and centered before attaching it.

  5. Finally, attach the seat boards to the seat support piece using screws. Make sure the boards are evenly spaced and flush with the edges of the support piece.

  6. Once all the pieces are attached, give the base a thorough check to make sure everything is secure and level. If needed, adjust any screws or pieces that are not fitting correctly.

Congratulations, you have assembled the base of your wooden bench with a back! Now it’s time to move on to attaching the backrest and finishing the bench with stain or paint.

Building the Bench Back

Now that you have built the bench seat, it’s time to work on the bench back. The bench back will provide support and comfort while sitting on the bench. Here are the steps to build the bench back:

Step 1: Cut the Backrest Frame Pieces

To build the backrest frame, you will need to cut two pieces of 2×4 lumber to the same length as the width of the bench seat. These pieces will serve as the top and bottom rails of the backrest frame. Then, cut two more pieces of 2×4 lumber to the same height as the desired height of the backrest. These pieces will serve as the side supports of the backrest frame.

Step 2: Assemble the Backrest Frame

Lay the two top and bottom rails on a flat surface and attach the two side supports to them using wood screws. Make sure the frame is square and level before tightening the screws.

Step 3: Cut and Attach the Backrest Slats

Cut several pieces of 1×4 lumber to the same length as the width of the bench seat. These pieces will serve as the backrest slats. Attach the slats to the backrest frame using wood screws. Make sure to space the slats evenly and leave a small gap between them for comfort.

Step 4: Attach the Backrest to the Bench

Finally, attach the backrest to the bench seat using wood screws. Make sure the backrest is level and centered on the bench seat. You may also add some decorative touches to the backrest, such as carving or painting, to make it more visually appealing.

Congratulations, you have now built a wooden bench with a comfortable backrest!

Finishing the Bench

After building your wooden bench with a back, it’s time to finish it. Finishing the bench will protect the wood from weather damage and give it a polished look. Here are some steps to follow when finishing your bench.


Before finishing your bench, you need to sand it down. Sanding will smooth out any rough edges and prepare the wood for staining or painting. Start with a coarse-grit sandpaper and work your way up to a fine-grit sandpaper. Sand in the direction of the wood grain to avoid damaging the wood.

Painting or Staining

Once your bench is sanded, you can either paint or stain it. Painting will give your bench a colorful finish, while staining will enhance the natural beauty of the wood. Here are some tips for painting or staining your bench:

  • Use a high-quality paint or stain that is suitable for outdoor use.
  • Apply the paint or stain in thin, even coats, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next coat.
  • Apply at least two coats of paint or stain for best results.
  • Consider using a sealer to protect the paint or stain from fading or chipping.

Overall, finishing your wooden bench with a back is an important step in the building process. By sanding and painting or staining your bench, you will create a durable and attractive piece of outdoor furniture that you can enjoy for years to come.

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