I Can Do That: Dimensional Lumber Bench

Don’t make the mistake of thinking you need a lot of tools and machinery to get started in woodworking. While it’s certainly nice to have a jointer, planer, table saw and router, the only power tool I used to make this bench was a jigsaw. To learn about the simple tools and techniques we use, download the free and newly updated “I Can Do That” manual.

We designed this project around available sizes of common lumber and put it together with a simple but strong method: nails and cleats. To add visual interest to this simple design, the ends are thicker than the front, back, sides and top, and all of the joints are offset. This creates lines and shadows at the intersections. It also takes some of the pressure off your precision – if your measurements are slightly off no one will ever know.

I used the front and back panels as gauges to locate the cleats that hold them to the ends. This avoids measuring errors.

I used the front and back panels as gauges to locate the cleats that hold them to the ends. This avoids measuring errors.

Because I planned to paint this piece, I decided to use inexpensive material – #2 pine. I used 2 x 12 dimensional lumber for the ends, and 1 x 12 and 1 x 10 for the rest. If you want to use a clear fi nish to show the wood grain, you might want to upgrade to clear hardwood. Spend some time picking your material. You want the straightest pieces you can fi nd with the fewest knots and other defects.

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