DIY: How-To Make A Cedar Slat Bench in 10 Steps

I created this bench to be easily replicable by anyone with moderate DIY skills. This bench is designed to be hipster bait, meaning any uber cool person with a sense of style should be magnetically attracted to it and feel a strong urge to sit, listen to dusty jazz records and read Super Sad Love Story.

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Okay, let’s get up off the bench and into the DIY game!

You’ll need several tools to complete this project, but if you don’t have them you can either rent them here or you can borrow them from The Tool Library. I’ve written a list of tools below with a legend. A check mark means the tool is necessary for the build, and a circle means it’s optional.

The tools you will need:

Step 1.

Cut the plywood down to 47in x 15in. If that’s not an option, have the store where you purchased the wood do it for you. Most stores will do it for free.

Step 2.

Decide on the pattern you want and cut your cedar planks so that they are about an inch longer than they need to be.

Step 3

Use the table saw to take a 1/4 inch off of both sides of the Cedar planks. This removes the rounded factory edges so the planks fit snugly together.

Step 4.

Sand all of your pieces. If you want to stain individual planks to create an effect like I have, then now is the time to do it.

Step 5

Spread glue on the plywood and place your planks. They should hang over the edges. Once they’re in position, nail ’em down. Line up your nails, keep it neat!

Step 6

Flip it over and use the circular saw to cut off the excess plank. If you have a planer, pick the whole thing up and run the edges over it. If you don’t have a planer, use a sander.

Step 7

Use the pocket hole jig to create holes in the back of the board. You’ll want to put 4 holes on the short sides and 5 holes on the long side, spaced evenly apart.

Step 8

Measure the short sides of the bench and cut pieces of 2×4 to fit. Secure the 2×4’s to the plywood with 1.5in screws through the pocket holes. Measure the long sides and repeat the process.

Step 9

Connect the galvanized pipe to form the legs. If you want to paint the legs, first clean them with T.S.P., spray them with metal primer, and then spray them with the colour of your choice.

Step 10

Place the legs onto the back of the bench top. Center the base and screw it in with 1in. screws. Peel and stick the circular furniture pads onto the feet.

Step 11

YOU’RE DONE!!! Now it’s time to step back, cast a steely glare to the skies and proclaim yourself a DIY Rockstar!!

Golden Tips:

1. When painting, hold the spray can at least 10 inches away from the galvanized pipe to get a nice even coat and avoid creating drip marks.

2. When your laying out your design pay attention to the grain colour and knots in the wood. The knots look great so use as many as you can.

3. Don’t leave any of the factory edges on the planks even on the ends. Clean edges create tight seams.

Sebastian Clovis

Sebastian Clovis

Sebastian is the principal owner of Clovis Contracting, host of HGTV Canada's Save My Reno, and a resident home renovation and DIY expert on The Marilyn Denis Show. He believes everyone should strive to understand the mechanics of their home, tackle home improvement projects while at the same time being able to identify when it’s necessary to call in a professional.
Sebastian Clovis

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