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Outfit Your Fire Pit

How to Build a Semi-Circular Wooden Bench (page 1 of 3)

This outdoor bench project is a great way to show off your woodworking skills. The bench is a perfect addition to a garden, deck or around a fire pit.

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Step-by-Step Instructions:

This project uses cedar, but redwood would work just as well. If you decide to use treated lumber, only make the base assemblies from it and use cedar or redwood for the seat slats. When buying lumber, look for pieces that are straight and have the fewest knots, especially knots that are on the edge of the board. Note that dimensional cedar (2x4s for example) may be more difficult to find at your local home improvement center or hardware store, so you may need to visit a lumber yard.

In any woodworking project, it's typically best to cut all parts for as you need them and not all at once. One small error can ruin an entire stack of lumber. This project uses pocket hole joinery in a few instances. If you're not familiar with it, take a look at the basics in this DIY Network tutorial.

Project Cut List

End Legs – four at 1-1/2" x 3-1/2" x 16-1/2"
Legs – eight at 1-1/2" x 3-1/2" x 16-1/2"
Long Front Aprons – two at 1-1/2" x 3-1/2" x 25-1/2"
Short Front Apron –one at 1-1/2" x 3-1/2" x 18-1/8"
Long Back Aprons – two at 1-1/2" x 3-1/2" x 25-1/2"
Short Back Apron – one at 1-1/2" x 3-1/2" x 18-1/8"
End Aprons – six at 3/4" x 3-1/2" x 11"
Seat Braces – three at 1-1/2" x 1-1/2" x 13-1/2"
Outer Seat Slat 1– two at 1-1/2" x 3-1/2" x 31-1/2"
Inner Seat Slat 1 – two at 1-1/2" x 3-1/2" x 24"
Outer Seat Slat 2 – two at 1-1/2" x 3-1/2" x 33"
Inner Seat Slat 2 – one at 1-1/2" x 3-1/2" x 27"
Outer Seat Slat 3 – two at 1-1/2" x 3-1/2" x 34-1/2"
Inner Seat Slat 3 – one at 1-1/2" x 3-1/2" x 30"
Outer Seat Slat 4 – two at 1-1/2" x 3-1/2" x 36"
Inner Seat Slat 4 – one at 1-1/2" x 3-1/2" x 33"
Outer Seat Slat 5 – two at 1-1/2" x 3-1/2" x 37-1/2"
Inner Seat Slat 5 – one at 1-1/2" x 3-1/2" x 36"

Cut the Legs

Cut the outer legs. Two will be used on each outer end of the bench (the base assembly). Follow the layout in Image 1.

Then cut the inner legs, refer to the dimensions in the cut list.

Cut the Apron Pieces

The aprons are rails used to connect the legs and support the seat. Use the layouts in Image 1 and Image 2 (below) to create the long and short front aprons. Refer to the cut list above for the exact sizes of the aprons.

To cut the radii on the inside corners of the front aprons, use a half-dollar coin or something of similar size (Image 3).

For marking the top arc, use a thin strip of wood or a flexible metal ruler. Drive in nails or brads to hold the wood strip or ruler in place while marking (Image 4). Use a jigsaw to cut the front apron pieces to shape.

Drill pocket holes in the front aprons as marked in Images 1 and 2. Set the pocket-hole jig and drill bit for drilling into 1-1/2-inch stock (Image 5).

Cut the long and short back apron pieces. Refer to the cut list above for the exact sizes. Drill pocket holes in the long and short back aprons as marked in Image 6.

Cut the end apron pieces to size. Again, refer to the cut list for exact dimensions.

Apply the finish to the aprons and legs prior to assembly. We used Cabot Solid Color Acrylic Siding Stain (Evergreen) on the legs, and Cabot Solid Color Acrylic Siding Stain (Redwood) on the aprons. This finish acts as a primer/sealer and top coat in one.

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