My mom has been wanting a small bench for their front porch for quite a while.Â Since it sometimes snows where they live, she wanted a place for people to be able to remove their shoes before going into the house.Â She has the perfect spot on her front porch area that is covered, so I decided to build her a bench for her 60th birthday.Â I searched Pinterest (of course!) and found a plan on Ana White’s website for a Woven Back bench that was just really pretty and looked different from the average bench plans I was finding.Â So, even though the back of the bench looked a bit intimidating, I decided to go for it! I’m glad I did because it was much easier to build than I thought it would be!Â In fact, the woven back was pretty easy, the hardest part was actually the back legs of the bench (have I mentioned that jig saws and I don’t get along very well…)
When purchasing wood for the bench, there is one error in the shopping list.Â Only one 1x4x8 is listed, but you will actually need two to make 4 cuts at 40″ each.Â So, be aware of that when shopping for the wood.
The first steps in making the bench are cutting out the back legs.Â This, for me, was the most difficult part of making the bench. I first marked the measurements on the 2×4 so I knew exactly which sections of the board to cut off and which to keep.Â Here is how I marked the board:
Once I had the boards marked for both legs, I then needed to cut out the back legs.Â This was the most challenging part of the entire build for me.Â I first tried using a jig saw and cutting along my lines, but since I can’t even draw a straight line very well, the cutting a straight line part (especially with a heavy tool) did not go well!Â Let’s just say there was one board down the drain….Â My husband then suggested I try making the cuts on a band saw since you have a little more control with that since you don’t have to support the weight of the tool as you are making your cuts.Â That worked much better (although the cuts still weren’t perfect, they were definitely much better!).Â I highly recommend using a band saw if you have one when cutting out the back legs,Â especially if you are not jig saw savvy!Â 😉
Once both back legs were cut out, it was simple to attach the front legs, supports, and arm rest to the back legs for each side.Â Once both side pieces were assembled, it was time to attach the side pieces to create the bench frame.Â For this step, I added wood glue to the boards I was attaching, and then used a long pipe clamp to hold everything together while I added in the pocket hole screws.Â I also made sure to use a speed square to ensure my side pieces were at a perfect 90 angle before put the screws in.
Once the frame was built,Â assembling the back section was fairly simple.Â To create the “X” in the back of the bench, which will be the supports for the smaller pieces to create the woven look, I marked the center of the ends of the boards, I then set my miter saw to cut at a 45 degree angle, and I cut off the sides of the end of the board so they formed a point:
The remainder of the build was fairly simple, just following the plans and gluing/screwing in the boards.Â For the small pieces, to create the woven look, I just used wood glue to hold those in place since they are just decorative and it was too difficult to put pocket hole screws in such tiny spaces!Â Here is the bench prior to staining:
I used Minwax Golden Oak stain to stain the bench.Â I then applied three coats of Varathane Spar Urethane Outdoor in Satin Finish, sanding lightly in between each coat.
Here’s a pic of my daughter sitting on the bench in its final location on my mom’s front porch:
My mom loved the bench and is very happy to finally have someplace to sit on her front porch!Â If this is a bench you would like to build, don’t be intimidated by the woven pattern on the back, it was very easy to create!