Deck benches can be either freestanding or built in. The advantage of freestanding benches is that you can move them anywhere you need additional seating. Built-in benches are fastened to joists and they make a nice addition at the perimeter for a low-level deck that doesn't require a railing. The benches help define the edge of the deck. On higher decks be careful where you place freestanding benches so children don't use them to climb over a railing. On a deck that requires a railing, the railing must extend 36 inches above the top of the bench. To gain storage, enclose the area beneath a bench seat. Build benches from 2x lumber for stability. Typical seat height for a bench is 15 to 18 inches. Seat depth is usually at least 15 inches but may be as much as 30 inches. Benches complement your deck best when made from the same type of wood used for the decking and railing. To provide a smooth seating surface, sand all surfaces and round over sharp corners and edges with a palm sander.
MAKE UPPER PEDESTAL
Mark the layout for the upper pedestal on a 16-inch 4x4. space notches for the legs 1 ½ inches apart. Make the angles on each end 1 inch from the outer shoulders of the notches. Using a circular saw, cut notches 3 ½ inches wide and 1 ½ inches deep. Remove waste material with a chisel.
CUT LOWER PEDESTAL
Notch the lower pedestal to accommodate the legs. Then cut the angled shoulder at both ends of the pedestal.
Cut the legs to length (12 ½ inches). Install on leg in each of the lower pedestals with three screws through the pedestal into the leg. Attach the 2x6 spreader to the inside surface of the legs at both ends of the bench. Drive three deck screws at each end. Fasten the spreader flush with the other face of each leg.
Fasten the rails to the underside of the 2x6 seat boards with 2 1/2 –inch-long deck screws. Position the out faces of the rails 4 ½ inches from the board ends. Space the seat boards with a ¼-inch gap between them. Drive screws through the 2x3 rails into the upper pedestals. Position the seat on the pedestals for a ½-inch overhang on each long side. Rail positions create 1-inch overhangs at the ends.
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Skill Level: Intermediate
Time: 3 hours
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- Deck Screws