How To Build a Mendocino Bench

Adults and children appreciate having plenty of seating areas in and near their playspace. Benches encourage adult supervision when placed in close proximity to the playground equipment. Seating also encourages a sense of community by creating a designated area for neighbors to gather together, much like a “town square."

Overview

Difficulty:Medium
Time (in hours):6
Volunteers needed:5


Quantity: Materials:
6 2x2x8' boards
9 2x4x8' boards
3 4x4x8' boards
3lbs 2 ½" deck screws
2lbs 60d 6" galvanized timber tie nails
Tools needed:
Miter Saw
Pencil
Tape measure
Safety glasses
Carpenter's square
Drill
Screwdriver bit
¼" drill bit
Level
Hammer
Sandpaper

Preparation Instructions

  1. Sort all materials into piles by like items to ensure you have materials needed to complete project.
  2. Take [3] 2x2x8' boards. Cut each to 61", for a total of [3] 2x2x61" pieces.
  3. Take [1] of the remaining 2x2x8' boards. Cut to a 2x2x68" piece.
  4. Take the [2] remaining 2x2x8' boards. Cut to a 2x2x71" piece, for a total of [2] 2x2x71" pieces.
  5. Take [1] of the 4x4x8' boards. Cut from it [2] 4x4x23 ½" pieces.
  6. Take the [2] remaining 4x4x8' boards. Cut from them [1] 32" piece and [1] 19 ½" piece, for a total of [2] 4x4x32" pieces and [2] 4x4x19 ½" pieces.
    If you will be setting the bench in concrete, instead cut [1] 35 ½" piece and [1] 48" piece, for a total of [2] 4x4x35 ½" pieces and [2] 4x4x48" pieces.
  7. Take [4] of the 2x4x8' boards. Cut [1] 2x4x68" piece and [1] 2x4x26" piece from each one, for a total of [4] 2x4x68" pieces and [4] 2x4x26" pieces.
  8. Take [2] of the remaining 2x4x8' boards. Cut [1] 2x4x71" piece and [1] 2x4x22 ½" piece from each one, for a total of [2] 2x4x71" pieces and [2] 2x4x22 ½" pieces.
  9. Take [2] of the remaining 2x4x8' boards. Cut [1] 2x4x68" piece, [1] 2x4x18" piece, and [1] 2x4x8 ½" piece from each, for a total of [2] 2x4x68" pieces, [2] 2x4x18" pieces, and [2] 2x4x8 ½" pieces.
  10. Take the remaining 2x4x8' board. Cut [1] 2x4x71" piece and [1] 2x4x21 ½" piece from it.
  11. Angled Cuts:
    • Take the [2] 4x4x23 ½" pieces that were cut in step 4. Measure 2" up and 2" in from one corner and cut a 45° angle between the two marks to create [2] angled armrests.
    • Take the [2] 2x4x18" pieces cut in step 9. Use the miter saw to cut 10° off each side, creating a parallelogram.
    • Take the 2x4x21 ½" piece cut in step 10. Use the miter saw to cut 10° off each side, creating a parallelogram.
    • Take the [4] 2x4x26" pieces cut in step 7. Measure 1 ½" in and 1 ½" up from one corner. Cut a 45° angle on the line connecting the two marks.
    • Take the [2] 2x4x22 ½" pieces cut in step 8. Use the miter saw to cut a 10° angle on one end of the piece. On the other end, measure 1 ½" in and 1 ½" up from one corner. Cut a 45° angle on the line connecting the two marks.

Build Steps

  1. Before building, inventory and sort all of your materials.
    Quantity: Inventory:
    4 80lb bags concrete (optional)
    3 2x2x61" pieces
    2 4x4x23 ½" pieces
    1 2x2x68 piece
    2 2x4x18" parallelograms
    2 2x2x71" pieces
    1 2x4x21 ½" parallelogram
    2 4x4x32" legs OR
    2 4x4x48" legs
    4 2x4x26" pieces
    2 4x4x19 ½" legs OR
    2 4x4x32 ½" legs
    2 2x4x22 ½" pieces
    6 2x4x68" pieces
    2 2x4x8 ½" pieces
    4 2x4x71" pieces
  2. Assemble Legs: Place 4x4x23 ½" arm rest against the 4x4x32" back leg. (If you are setting the bench in concrete, you will use the 4x4x48" piece as the back leg.) The bottom of the 4x4x23 ½" piece should be 19 ½" from the bottom of the 4x4x32" (If you are setting the bench in concrete, the bottom of the 23 ½" piece will be 35 ½" from the bottom of the 4x4x48" leg). The angled cut should face downward. Attach the two 4x4s by using two 6" galvanized nails. Repeat this step for the second leg.

  3. Place the 2x4x8 ½" blocks flush against the bottom of the armrests on both back legs, as shown. Attach with 3 screws per block.

  4. Connect the left and right legs with (2) 2x4x68" beams, one beam flat on top of the legs, and one beam underneath the 2x4x8 ½" blocks. Use three screws at each connection.

  5. Install the (2) 4x4x19 ½" front legs (If you are concreting the bench, you will use the 4x4x19 ½" legs) underneath the armrests by using 2 nails through the armrests. Leave 16" between the front and back legs.

  6. Connect the left and right FRONT legs with (1) 2x4x68" beam. The beam should be 8 ½" down from the armrest and attached to the "inside" of the leg.

  7. Sandwich the front and back legs with 2x4x26" seat supports (you will need 4 total - 2 for each side of the bench.) They will be attached across the top of the 2x4x68" beams you just attached.

  8. Align the supports flush with the back of the back leg (they should overhang in front). Secure with 2 screws into each leg. Install the 2x4x18" pieces with angled ends on the inside of the back legs.

  9. Install the 2x4x21 ½" center back support in the middle of the two legs. Use two screws through the top brace. Sandwich the brace with two 2x4x22" ½" pieces. For each piece, use 1 screw directly into the center back support, 1 screw at an angle down into the beam connecting the back legs, and 1 screw down at an angle into the beam connecting the front legs.

  10. Attach rails along the seat of the bench as shown. Use 2 screws for every 2x4 connection point, and 1 screw for every 2x2 connection point. Pre-drill the screws through the 2x2s so they don't split. Space out the pieces before attaching to make sure everything fits.

    • From back to front the seat will be build with the following pieces in the following order, leaving approximately ½" between each board.
      1. 2x4x71"
      2. 2x2x71"
      3. 2x2x71"
      4. 2x4x71"
      5. 2x2x61"
      6. 2x2x61"
      7. 2x4x71"
  11. Install the remaining rails along the back as shown below. Use 2 screws for every 2x4 connection point, and 1 screw for every 2x2 connection point. Pre-drill the screws through the 2x2s so they don't split. Space out the pieces before attaching to make sure everything fits. There will be about 1" between each board.

    • From top to bottom the back will be build with the following pieces in the following order, leaving approximately 1" between each board.
      1. 2x4x68"
      2. 2x2x68"
      3. 2x4x68"
      4. 2x261"
      5. 2x4x68"
  12. If you are going to set the bench in concrete, dig [4] holes 6" diameter and 16" deep. Use a level to keep the bench straight while filling the holes with concrete.