The best way to make a strong bench

Sturdy, solid, rustic, and … decorative, this bench may seem a bit complicated to make, but once you master the technique of half-wood assembly (see here), which is not insurmountable, you can get through it without too much trouble. It has no back, but it is well suited for a table. It can also be straddled, for example to play chess.
Ideal for a relatively long camp in the forest, this bench also has its place in the garden for the long term: it can then be made of barked round wood, with boards for the seat. However, the non-barked poles give it a more forest and country character and can be suitable for a romantic and wild garden.


  • saw
  • hammer
  • knife
  • stainless steel flat head nails 40 mm and 80 mm
  • Parts and destination
  • 50 mm diameter poles:
  • 4 posts of 50 cm
  • 4 crosspieces of 50 cm
  • 160 cm seat crosspieces
  • 1 spacer of 130 cm

Shape all the joints at mid-wood

  • 1 On each upright, make 1 notch at each end 5 cm from the end.
  • 2 On each 50 cm bottom rail, make 1 notch at each end and 1 notch in the middle.
  • 3 On each high crosspiece (50 cm), make 1 notch at each end.
  • 4 On the spacer, make 2 notches at the end.

Pay attention to the direction of the notches on the crosspieces! The middle notch must be in the same direction as the end notches on the high crosspieces, but perpendicular (and facing up) on the low crosspieces.

Assembling the uprights and crosspieces

1 Place the 2 uprights on the floor, notches facing up.
2 Assemble the 2 crosspieces on top of each other, using a hammer or mallet if necessary.
3 Reinforce each assembly with 3 x 40 mm nails, driven in at an angle.
4 Assemble a second identical structure, for the other side of the base.

Assemble the cross brace and seat rails

1 Assemble and nail the end of the cross brace to 1 bottom cross brace and the other end to the other cross brace.
2 Place the seat crosspieces in place. The width of the seat between the two uprights is about 40 cm. You can therefore place 8 crosspieces with a diameter of 5 cm and a length of about 1.60 m so that they protrude on both sides. On each side, fix them with 80 mm nails – 1 for each crosspiece.


A stool.
On the same model, you can make a stool with 4 legs, very solid. You have to assemble the 2 sets of uprights and crosspieces by 1 spacer of about 50 cm, before placing the seat crosspieces of about 60 cm long.

A garden version

For a garden version, use 50 mm diameter barked chestnut stakes, cut to size, and 30 mm diameter chestnut stakes for the seat. To shape more easily the notches in the middle on the upright and the crosspieces, you can use a chisel. And to strengthen the joints, place stainless steel screws with countersunk heads. Drill pilot holes and countersink the entries to accommodate the screw heads.

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