The 2-3/4-in.-thick legs are made by gluing
together thinner stock. To make each rear leg,
crosscut a pair of 2 x 6 cedar pieces to about 40
in. Use a roller to spread glue on the mating
surfaces of the boards (Photo 1) and clamp the
pairs together to form the leg blanks. For the
front legs, follow the same procedure with
30-in.-long 2 x 4 stock.
|Apply glue to pairs of 2 x
6s, and then clamp them together to form
the rear leg blanks. Use 2 x 4s for the
When the glue
dries, rip the rear blanks to a width of 5 in.
and use a band saw to trim them to 2-3/4 in.
thick. Then saw the front legs to 2-3/4 in.
square. Plane the cut surfaces smooth and
crosscut the front legs to finished length.
Lay out the side profile of the rear legs on the
cedar blanks (Photo 2) and cut to the waste side
of the lines with a band saw (Photo 3).
|Band saw the rear
leg blanks to 5 in. wide and 2-3/4 in.
thick. Plane them smooth and lay out the
||Use a band saw to
cut the rear legs from the blanks. Be
sure to keep the saw kerf on the waste
side of the layout line.
Then plane the
sawn surfaces (Photo 4). Use a sanding block or
scraper to smooth the inside corner of each leg
where the plane won't reach.
|Use a sharp plane to smooth
the sawn surfaces. Switch to sandpaper or
a scraper at the back inside corner.
Use a plunge
router with a spiral up-cutting bit and an edge
guide to remove most of the waste in each leg
mortise (Photo 5). Square the mortise ends with a
sharp chisel (Photo 6).
|Mark the mortise
locations on the front and rear legs, and
use a plunge router and edge guide to
make the cuts.
||After the routing
has been completed, use a sharp chisel to
square the rounded ends of each leg
Notice that the
arm mortises in the rear legs are cut at a
7-1/2° angle to allow the arms to be level. To
start the angled mortises, clamp a block with a
square end to the vertical face of a leg and use
it as a guide to drill out most of the waste
(Photo 7). Then, use a sharp chisel to finish
each mortise. Crosscut the top end of each rear
leg so that it's square to the angled face of the
leg. Chamfer the ends with a block plane (Photo
|To cut the angled
arm mortises, clamp a board to the leg to
act as a guide. Bore holes, then finish
with a chisel.
||Crosscut the leg
top so that it's square to the angled
face of the leg. Use a chisel or block
plane to chamfer the end.
Rip and crosscut 1-in.-thick stock for the rails.
Also, cut a piece of 2 x 4 stock to size for the
center seat-support rail. Use a scrap stick as a
beam compass to mark the 39-3/4-in. radius on the
top side rails and center rail, but don't cut the
curves at this point. Install a dado blade in the
table saw and cut the tenons on the ends of the
side, front and back rails (Photo 9). Use the
table saw rip fence as a stop to ensure that the
tenons are of equal length. Readjust the blade
height to cut the shoulder at the top and bottom
edge of each tenon.
|Use a dado blade in the
table saw to cut the rail tenons. The rip
fence acts as a stop to ensure tenons of
a scrap fence to the table saw fence and position
it so that only 1/2 in. of the dado blade will be
exposed. Turn on the saw and raise the blade to a
height of 7/8 in., and cut the tenons on the top
ends of the front legs (Photo 10). Readjust the
saw again to cut the tenons on the ends of the
center seat-support rail.
|To cut the tenons on top of
the legs, raise the dado blade into a
scrap fence to yield a 1/2-in.-wide x
mark the locations of the slat mortises in the
side, front and back rails and use a plunge
router to cut them (Photo 11). Since the rails
are narrow, clamp a second board to the workpiece
to help support the router base. Square the
mortise ends with a sharp chisel. Work carefully
when making these cuts, as there are no shoulders
on the slats to hide oversize mortises.
|Rout the slat mortises in
the bench rails. Clamp a second board to
the workpiece to help support the router
out the mortises for the center seat-support rail
in the front and back rails. Use a Forstner bit
in a drill press to remove most of the waste
(Photo 12), and square with a chisel. Then, cut
the curved profiles on the side and center
support rails, and rip and crosscut the bench
slats to finished size.
|Mark the mortise locations
for the center seat-support rail. Use a
Forstner bit to remove most of the waste.
Begin assembly by joining a set of slats to the
side rails (Photo 13). It isn't necessary to glue
the slats in place since they will be held
captive between the rails, but if they fit too
loosely, you can place a spot of glue in the
mortises to prevent them from rattling.
|After cutting the curved
rail profiles, press the side slats
firmly into their mortises. It's not
necessary to use glue.
glue in the leg mortises and on the side rail
tenons, assemble one of the bench sides, and
clamp until the glue sets (Photo 14). Repeat the
process for the other side.
|Spread glue in the leg
mortises and side rail tenons, and
assemble one of the bench sides. Clamp
until the glue sets.
Join the slats
to the front rails. If necessary, use three or
four clamps to press the slats all the way into
the joints (Photo 15). Then, spread glue in the
front and back rail mortises and on the center
rail tenons, and join the parts (Photo 16).
|Use three or four
clamps to squeeze the front rail
assembly, pressing the slats to the
bottom of the mortises.
||Spread glue in the
shallow center rail mortises and on the
seat-support rail tenons. Then join the
Use a clamp to
pull the joints tight, and set the assembly aside
to let the glue dry (Photo 17).
|Use a clamp to pull the
front rail and back rail assembly tight
to the center seat-support rail.
back rails and slats and join this subassembly to
one of the bench sides (Photo 18). When the glue
cures, join the front and back seat rail assembly
to the same side. Complete the bench frame by
joining the opposite side to the rail ends.
|Join the back to one of the
bench sides. When the glue cures, add the
front and back seat rail assembly to the
Rip and crosscut 3/4-in. stock to size for the
seat slats. Adjust the table saw blade angle to
9-1/2° and bevel one edge of the front and back
slats. Leave the rest of the slat edges square.
Use a combination bit to bore screw pilot holes
and 3/8-in.-dia. x 5/16-in.-deep counterbores in
the seat slats. Then, fasten the slats with
galvanized deck screws. Maintain an equal space
between the slats. Use a 3/8-in. plug cutter in
your drill press to cut screw plugs in a cedar
board (Photo 19). Then, spread glue in the
screwholes and on the plugs, and insert a plug
into each hole (Photo 20). When the glue dries,
pare each plug flush.
|Use a plug cutter
to make cedar plugs to cover the seat
screws. Pop the plugs free with a
||Spread glue in the
holes and on the plugs and place a plug
into each hole. Pare each one flush with
a sharp chisel.
Rip blanks to
4-1/4 in. wide for the arms, and crosscut them a
few inches longer than finished length. Use a
dado blade in your table saw to cut a square
shoulder tenon on the end of each blank. Then,
lay out the angled shoulder and cut the finished
tenon with a sharp backsaw (Photo 21). Refine the
cuts with a sharp chisel where necessary. With
the tenons done, crosscut the arms to finished
|After cutting square tenons
at the arm ends, use a backsaw to cut the
angled shoulders. Refine tenons with a
location of the mortise on the underside of each
bench arm, and use your drill press with a
Forstner bit to bore overlapping holes that
remove most of the waste. Then, use a sharp
chisel to square the mortise walls. Note that the
arm mortise is elongated so the tenon at the
opposite end of the arm will easily slide into
the leg mortise.
Lay out the finished shape of the arms on the
blanks and cut to the lines with a band saw.
After smoothing the sawn edges, join the arms to
the bench using two clamps to ensure pressure is
applied to both joints while the glue sets (Photo
|Join the arms to the bench
using two clamps so pressure is applied
to both joints while the glue sets.
Sand the bench with 120-grit sandpaper. Brush off
all sanding dust before applying a finish. Apply
a coat of Clear Decking Stain. This finish is
easy to apply and provides good protection for
outdoor pieces. Brush on a liberal coat and allow
it to dry for at least 24 hours before using the