One-beam Bench from Scrap Wood

Inspired by one commenters comment about Piet Hein Eek on my last Bench Post, I used a little more of my dumpster find to make a one-beam bench:

This bench is way easier than the last one, but you do need to be a little careful measuring and drilling the holes (more on measurements below).

From your scrap wood you will need one plank (to sit on), one beam (cross-support) and two legs. The length of the beam determines the distance between the legs.

The rest of the construction is eight 5/16″ holes and eight 1″ holes – the trick is getting them to all line up.

1. Leg to Beam Construction

This is one end of the beam. The 5/16″ drill holes are wide enough for the bolts that I bought. The 1″ drill holes allow me to attach a nut to the protruding bolt and clamp everything together with a spanner (US: wrench).


This is one of the legs: the 5/16″ drill holes match up with the drill holes on the end of the beam (above). Knock the smooth ended bolts through.


Here you can see the leg being fitted to the beam. If the holes on the leg and the beam line up then the bolts just slide through.


I aimed to have my bolts end more or less in the centre of the 1″ circle. For the casual driller/measurer, you could make your life easier and drill a bigger circle (I didn’t have a bigger bit).


Here I have attached and tightened both legs onto the beam. I’ve also laid the legs onto the plank so I can measure where to drill the next set of holes.


2. Leg to Plank Construction

It got dark on me, but you can see that the leg-beam theory is exactly the same as the leg-plank theory. Two bolts through the plank and into the leg to protrude through a pre-drilled 1″ hole.


Here I have turned the bench upside down to attach the nuts more easily – make sure these ones are tight.


It’s as simple as eight nuts and bolts in the right place. Once that’s done the bench is ready for sitting or painting.


3. A quick note on getting the measurements right…

A good friend of mine once told me to measure twice and cut once – in this case it’s measure twice and drill once.

I’m not an engineer by any means, but I’ve tried to draw out the thought process I went through when I was drilling my holes.

  • The distance x + y must be the length of your bolt.
  • The distance a should be equal top and bottom of the beam and match up with the leg.
  • The distance b will allow you to put the second leg hole in the right place.
  • All the 5/16″ holes need to be drilled on the vertical centre line.


Use the same thought process to map out the drill holes for the plank-leg, with the added important complication that the two sets of holes through the plank are the right distance apart (i.e. the length of the beam plus the width of a single leg). I set the plank onto of the legs/beam unit and drew a line on the plank in the right place.

A simpler bench with slightly more complicated nuts and bolts.

Good Luck!


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