How to Build Wood Benches & Tables

In the world of furniture, nothing is as charming as handmade, handcrafted furniture; this is especially true of furniture crafted by family members and passed down through the generations. Crafting your own allows you to make tables and benches in the sizes you need, whether long for many family members---or shorter for children.

  • Large wooden sheet, ¾-inch to 1 ¼-inch thick
  • Tape measure
  • Miter saw
  • Rotary saw
  • Compass
  • Straight edge
  • 4 wooden post pieces, 4 inches by 4 inches, 26 inches long
  • 4 standard length boards, 2 inches by 4 inches
  • Wood screws, 2-inch
  • Power screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Finishing nails, 2 ½-inch
  • 4 boards, 12 inches by 1 ¾ inches
  • 16 wooden post pieces, 4 inches by 4 inches by 15 inches
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint or stain
  • Paintbrushes
Cut the tabletop to the desired width, length and shape. For a rectangular or square table, keep the corners at 90 degrees, using the straight edge and miter saw. For a circular or oval table, measure with a compass and make cuts with a rotary saw or other saw capable of making curved cuts.

Turn the tabletop piece over on its top. Draw a square or rectangular shape approximately 2 to 5 inches inside the shape of the tabletop; this shape will mark where the table's support beams and legs will attach.

Assemble the legs and support beams. Determine the distance between the table legs, both length and width wise of the table. Cut 2-inch-by-4-inch boards to fit between the pieces. If the width from the outside edge of one table leg to the next is 34 inches, then the 2-inch-by-4-inch board should measure 26 inches; this allows 8 inches for the width of both wooden-post table legs.

Attach the cut 2-inch-by-4-inch boards between the wooden posts to create a square or rectangle shape. To do this, the 2-inch-by-4-inch boards used as the support beams should sit flush with the outside edge of the table legs and 2-inch wooden screws driven in at an angle at the ends of these boards and into the 4-inch-by-4-inch pre-cut wooden-post pieces.

Attach the tabletop. With the legs turned upright so that the support beams are at the top of the legs, set the tabletop piece into place. Align the markings on the underside of the tabletop with the shape of the support beams. Hammer finishing nails down through the tabletop and into the tops of the table legs and the support beams. Leave the nails sticking out 1/8-inch above the tabletop surface, then use the nail set to place the nail heads flush with the tabletop surface.

Build the benches for the tables. Measure the width and length of the table; you will want benches that fit between the table legs, so measuring the distance between table legs and subtract a couple of inches to get the length of your benches. Cut the 12-inch-wide-by-1 ¾-inch-thick pieces to this length. Cut eight 2-inch-by-4-inch boards 8 inches shorter than the 12-inch-by-1 ¾-inch board.

Assemble the 2-inch-by-4-inch boards between two of the pre-cut 15-inch-long post pieces for the bench legs. Do this in the same fashion described in Step 4, only without creating a rectangular shape. Attach the four legs and two support beams to the 12-inch-wide-by-1 ¾-inch-thick pieces that create the bench tops. To do this, drive the finishing nails down through the bench top and into the leg tops and support beams; remember to set the nails as described in Step 5.

Tips and Warnings

  • Finish the tables and benches by sanding and painting as desired.

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