Do you love benches as much as me? I love the look and versatility of a bench, but they can be pricey. The vintage looking ones with the aged wood are especially spendy, and of coarse they’re the ones I want in my home. So, after taking inventory of my scrap wood and researching different styles of DIY benches, I was able to quickly and easily create this gorgeous DIY aged wood bench.
With any DIY craft or project, be sure to wear proper safety gear and take care to know how to use tools and equipment properly before using it. I used safely glasses for every step of this project, and a face mask for the sanding steps. Safety gear is the most important investment you’ll make for your DIY projects.
Before I get into the steps, I’m going to share the dimensions of my bench. However, the beauty of DIY is that you can customize your bench to meet your needs. The bench seat is a 2×12″ board and it’s 5′ long. I used 2×4″ boards for the 18″ long legs and the 9″ long leg supports. The final piece of wood is the horizontal support 1×2″ board and it’s 42″ long. The legs are attached 7″ in from the ends and all the leg ends are cut at a ten degree angle.
Now that the dimension are covered so that you can either copy the size or get clarification, let’s move onto the steps for this easy DIY bench. If you had to buy the wood, screws, and glue to make this design, it would cost about $25. That doesn’t include the cost of stain/ paint which I also already had, or the cost of the tools I used – but if you’re not new to DIY, then you probably have the basic tools that I used to make this design. Here are the general steps, but my YouTube video does a great job of showing the steps too.
How to construct the bench
Cut the 2×12 board to be the seat length you want.
Cut four 18″ pieces from the 2×4 board – at a 10 degree angle at both ends. The angles will make a parallelogram
On the underside of the seat, measure in and mark 7″ from each end to place the legs. Then measure in and mark 2.25″ from the front and back of the seat. The 2×4 leg will go inside the pencil lines for these measurements.
Drill two pocket holes at one end of each 2×4 leg. Make sure that the pocket holes are drilled inside of the leg.
Using 2″ long Kreg screws and wood glue, attach the legs onto the underside of the bench seat. It’s helpful to have someone hold the leg while you attach it.
Once the wood glue is dry, hold a 2×4 board across two legs and draw the angled cut lines to get a perfect fit for the leg support boards. Set the support board in place and drill pilot holes into the underside of the board. I had to hand screw this support board into place because my drill gun couldn’t reach.
Measure the distance between the leg support boards and cut the 1×2 board to that length. I found the middle of the support boards and drilled a pilot hole – you can also drill a countersink if you want to cover these screws. Then find the middle of the 1×2 board and attach it across the bench using 2″ Kreg screws.
Those are the steps to construct the basic bench. There are different styles and designs out there, but this one was easy and I liked the look of it. If you stop at this point, the bench resembles a cute picnic table bench, which is just fine. However, I wanted a vintage look and decided to age the wood quickly and safely. Here are the steps to age this bench.
How to age wood
The first step is to create rounded and uneven edges. I used a very sharp wood chisel, but you can also use a hand planer if you have one. Don’t worry about removing too much in some areas, it will all get smoothed out later and it adds to the vintage look.
The next aging technique is to use a jigsaw to distress the ends. Some people like to add some chopped spots on the bench seat and legs, but I only distressed the ends of the bench seat so that the fresh cut ends didn’t look brand new.
This step was the most fun because it was fast, I didn’t have to be perfect or take my time, and I love the look this technique adds. Attach a 2″ wire brush to your drill gun and just go for it. I brushed every surface of the bench, not every square inch, but every surface so that all the wood had that scraped uneven look. This step also gives stain areas to really sink into helping with the aged look.
The last and final step is sanding. I used an orbital sander and went over the entire bench with 80 grit paper. After that roughed up the wood and smoothed out the jagged edges, I used a 120 grit to smooth and soften the surface even more. Finally, I used 220 grit just on the bench seat so that there was no way this bench could snag clothing or scratch someone.
The best thing you can do before aging your constructed bench is to test out each technique on a piece of scrap wood. This way, you’ll get a feeling for how the tool interacts with the wood and you’ll gain confidence to apply it to the bench. The good news is that you can’t really mess up during these steps since you’re goal is to add wear and tear. It’s not like you can over do it, and it shouldn’t be perfect or uniform which will add to the beauty of the final look.
My staining technique also creates a worn aged wood look. I love Rove and Dwell’s Farmhouse stain – there is no odor, it’s beautiful, and it goes a long way. The second step is to use a white wash stain, let it sit for a few minutes before wiping away any residue – this step also smooths it all out. Once the stain is completely dry, you can gently sand the bench with 220 grit paper, clean it, and then protect it with a matte polyurethane finish. I’m going to be sure to add poly to the bottoms of the legs too. This stain combination creates a beautiful aged oak look, no matter what type of wood I use. It’s easy and my favorite.
Watch the tutorial
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My new bench will be enjoyed in various spaces around our home. It will provide seating at our dining table, be a welcome seat in the entryway, and a catch-all at the end of our bed. I love moving stuff around so it will make appearances wherever I find. I suppose it could also be extra seating outside too. I’m not sure how long this bench with pocket hole joinery will last, but for only $25 and gentle use, I’m not worried about it. Thank you so much for checking out this post. I hope you’re encouraged and inspired to start this beginner-friendly project. Good luck!