How to Build a Wood Slab Bench

Working with natural wood slabs is the ultimate in creating rustic, country-style furniture. For an indoor or outdoor bench, a wood slab bench top provides character and loads of aesthetic appeal. Using wood stumps for the bench legs will enhance the rustic charm of the bench and the whole ensemble is relatively simple to put together, even for woodworking newcomers.

Step 1

Remove any outer bark from your wood slab and two wood stumps. Wear work gloves to protect your hands. This exposes the smooth wood on the inside of the bark, which will come up beautifully when stained or otherwise finished.

Step 2

Sand the slab and stumps first with medium-grit sandpaper, then with fine-grit sandpaper. Wipe over with rags to remove all the sanding dust.

Step 3

Finish the slab and stumps with stain, varnish or a natural oil or wax finish. A UV protecting stain or varnish is preferable for an outdoor bench to help minimize the effects of weathering on the timber.

Step 4

Attach a 1-inch drill bit to your drill, and drill three 1-inch wide and 1 1/2-inch deep holes spaced evenly over the top of the two stump bench legs. Six holes altogether.

Step 5

Insert a 3-inch long, 1-inch thick dowel peg into each hole. Paint a thin layer of paint, or apply chalk to the tops of the dowel pegs. Position the legs approximately a third of the slab's length apart.

Step 6

Lower the slab on top of the legs, as you want the slab to be when attached to the legs. The paint or chalk on the tops of the dowel pegs will mark the position of the peg holes needed on the underside of the bench top.

Step 7

Remove the bench top and lay it underside-up on the work table. Drill 1-inch wide and 1 1/2-inch deep holes at all the points marked by paint or chalk.

Step 8

Apply wood glue all over the dowel pegs, as well as the tops of the legs. Insert the dowel into the holes on the legs. Replace the bench top over the legs, mating the holes in the bench top slab with the ends of the pegs.

Step 9

Apply downward pressure onto the bench top for about 15 minutes until the glue begins to set.