Hey friends, I’m so excited. Exhausted but excited. You see I did a marathon build session yesterday creating this fantastically simple but beautiful Modern 2×4 Bench Tutorial. Let me show you how, and I finished it in just 5 hours!
A few summers ago I built my first piece of furniture by myself, a 2×4 Side Table for my patio. Since then I’ve wanted to build a bench in a similar style. Since our At Home DIY Challenge was to build something out of 2x4s I knew it was the perfect time.
This is a great beginner project that requires a few power tools.
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Modern 2×4 Bench Supplies
- 5 2x4x8 Boards
- Pocket Hole Jig
- Right Angle Clamp
- Miter Saw
- Table Saw (optional)
- Cordless Drill
- 20 Exterior Soft Wood Pocket Hole Screws 2-1/2″
- 20 Exterior Wood Screws #8 or #10 in 2-1/2″
- Wood Glue
- Bar Clamps
- Two 24″ Bar Clamps
- Palm Sander
- Wood Filler
- Wood Glue
- Spackle or Wood Filler
- Palm Sander
- Sandpaper and Sanding Sponge
- Putty Knife
- Exterior Paint or Stain
2×4 Bench Cut List
All cuts are from 2×4 lumber.
- Bevel* Cut at 10 degrees four (4) boards to 16” long for the Legs.
- Miter* Cut at 10 degrees two (2) boards to 14″ long at the widest point for the Cross Leg Supports.
- Cut five (5) boards to 47-1/2″ long for the Seat Slats.
- Cut two (2) boards 17-1/2″ long for Seat Slat connectors.
- Cut one (1) board to 34-3/4″ for the Center Support (measure and cut this after both legs are attached)
*To make Bevel Cuts set the Miter Saw blade to 10 degrees and stand your 2×4 on the short side.
* To make Miter Cuts set the Miter Saw blade to 10 degrees and lay your 2×4 on the long side.
Step 1: Cut all 2×4 boards.
Cut all your boards according to the dimensions in the cut list with your Miter Saw. Remember that you want to cut the 34-3/4″ piece last because you’ll need to measure and ensure the proper fit.
Step 2: Make pocket holes.
Since 2×4 lumber isn’t the prettiest wood for making your 2×4 Bench you want to find the best side that will be seen. Using your Pocket Hole Jig make double pocket holes in the following boards.
- Inside top of all four Legs
- Inside of Cross Leg Supports, both ends
- Back side of Center Support, both ends
Step 3: Trimming the 2x4s (optional)
For my 2×4 Bench, just like with the 2×4 Side Table, I used the table saw to trim 1/8″ from the short side on all my boards. This is optional but it really gives a more finished look and can knock off some of the dings and chunks that you find in construction lumber. Plus it saves a lot of sanding.
Assembling your Modern 2×4 Bench
Step 4: Assemble the legs.
It’s really the legs that makes this a Modern 2×4 Bench. Slightly angled gives it a little elegant look.
Measure and mark 2″ from the bottom edge of each leg. This is where you’ll attach the cross support pieces.
- Lay a left leg onto your work surface.
- Add a little wood glue to one end of the cross support, align it to the edge of the leg and using a right-angle clamp in one hole clamp it to the work surface.
- Insert a pocket hole screw into the open pocket hole. Remove the Clamp and add the second screw.
- Lay down the right leg and follow the same steps to complete one set of legs.
- Follow the same process with the other leg pieces.
Step 5: Assemble the 2×4 bench top.
On a flat surface lay out the bench top with the best side facing down. This will be the top.
- Clamp a spare piece of 2×4 to your work surface on which you will align your bench top slats.
- Use 1/2″ wide spacers between the boards and use the 24″ Bar clamp to clamp them together.
- Use a mallet to nudge all 2x4s snug against the clamped 2×4. Follow that with a Carpenter’s Square against the bench top and the clamped 2×4 to ensure your bench top is square.
- Install the Seat Slat connector 3-1/2″ in from either end. Mark with pencil first.
- Apply wood glue to the slats, lay down the seat slat connector and pre-drill two holes for each slat 2″ deep. This will keep your wood from splitting.
- Install the 2-1/2″ wood screws
Step 6: Attach the legs.
- Place the legs onto the slat connector and measure and mark where the leg will connect with even spacing on both sides.
- Mine were 2-1/2″ on one side and 2-5/8″ on the other.
- Apply wood glue to the tops of both legs and attach with the pocket hole screws. You won’t be able to use the right-angle connector at this point so get a helper if needed.
Step 7: Installing Center Support
This 2×4 bench is pretty wide so it will need a center support to keep everything square.
- Measure and cut your center support piece and drill pocket holes into both ends on the back side.
- Find something tall enough to use as a support on the other end. If you have two right-angle clamps that will work also.
- Apply wood glue to both ends and attach using the right-angle clamp and pocket hole screws.
Step 8: Sanding and Finishing
I’ll say that sanding all your individual pieces before assembly is really the way to go. But again I was rushed building this project so I did my sanding last. It’s going to be outside so I’m only concerned that no one gets splinters in their butts.
When I paint I’ll be filling the pocket holes with wood filler or spackle so I get a smooth look.
Enjoying your Modern 2×4 Bench
Now that I’ve built the first one I want to make one for inside using poplar or something like that. Or maybe redwood for a second outdoor bench.
PIN IT FOR LATER!!
Now that you’ve seen my 2×4 Project don’t forget to click below to see all the great 2×4 projects made by my talented friends.