I have got to tell you guys, I am becoming a furniture building addict! My latest build started with a search for an awesome DIY bench and man did I find it with the Ana White Large Porch Bench.
Ana’s plans are fantastic and simple to follow. You can find them here and be thankful I didn’t try to write them for you! I’m not going to go through the entire building process because Ana already did, but there are a few things I want to tell you about that I didn’t realize until I was mid-build but the bench is gorgeous and I am super happy with it.
- 7- 2x4x8
- 4- 2x6x8 (Ana recommends 2- 2x6x12 boards but those don’t fit in my minivan!)
- 2- 2x2x8
- 2 1/2” outdoor screws
- 2 1/2” outdoor pocket hole screws
- Finish of your choice
1. The Seat
The boards for the bench seat have a separation between them, I assume that is for expansion due to weather and drainage, genius. Not that there’s anything wrong with this look, I just didn’t think about it ahead of time. My last project was a table so my brain had to stop thinking of how to keep all the boards together and let them breath a little.
2. The Front
It’s completely obvious in the plan pictures but I didn’t realize that the front is flush, there is no overhang. It actually feels more comfortable on the backs of your legs, score!
Ana says to add the seat boards before the arms and she is totally right. If you add the arms first, you will have to struggle to get your screws in at the end of the boards.
4. You May Need a Second Set of Hands
I built this by myself with no help, so making sure I was lining things up appropriately was not only important but tricky too. Keeping one eye on a level for the arms really helped. If they weren’t positioned right, I would be able to tell every. single. time I sat down. They are joined to the bench with screws that come into the arm from the back.
5. You Don’t Need to Go Pocket Hole Cray Cray!
I am a huge lover of a good pocket hole but I am so glad that I didn’t have to drill pocket holes for every screw used on this bench (because it’s a lot!) I used the pocket holes where they were recommended and where they made sense to me. Obviously, the X back isn’t going to happen without it but if you don’t have a Kreg Jig, you could alter the back by using horizontal boards at whatever spacing you are comfortable with and just screwing straight through with 2 1/2″ screws. I know DIY furniture becomes just as expensive as manufactured (at least for your first build) if you have to invest in a boatload of tools lets try to avoid that!
After you have followed all the instructions in the plans, fill the holes left by pocket holes and screws, sand and paint or stain. Then take your family of 4 and sit on this hunk of bench cause it is no joke! I swear I can almost lay completely flat and nap on this beast!
Consider this bench as an alternative to a few rocking chairs which typically cost $100 each!
Take away tips:
- Ana suggests painting the boards before you assemble the bench. I wish I did that for some parts of it, particularly between the seat pieces. It is just easier to do it when they are easily accessible. I ended up getting one of the $.97 cheap paintbrushes from the hardware store so I didn’t ruin my good one jamming the bristles between the boards.
- Take your time. You cannot do this in a rush. I do everything in a rush…except building. You truly have to enjoy the process in order to make a well-loved piece of furniture.
- The “X” pattern in the back can be tricky. Leave it for last and trace the angle. It is so much easier and takes the guesswork out of the equation.