Design & DIY

DIY rainproof deck bench

rainproof-bench-on-a-deck Sandy Nicholson

What’s the first thing you do when it starts to rain? Grab the cushions from the deck furniture and toss them into the cottage in a chaotic pile? If so, you need a convenient, rainproof place to store them and the other accessories of outdoor living. This deck bench is based on the design of Paul Lewis’s dock bench. However, a few changes to dimensions, materials, and the shape of some parts make it look like a completely different project. That’s part of the fun of building—you can always customize a plan to suit your own needs.

Sandy Nicholson

1. Cut the MDO pieces (see “FYI: MDO,” p. 81), then assemble the box with outdoor glue and screws (leave the lid off for now). Drill countersinks, and clearance and pilot holes for #8 x 2″ screws (three spaced along the short edges; seven on the long edges). I didn’t fill the holes with plugs—this is casual out- door furniture, after all—but you could. Sand, paying attention to the edges (rout a chamfer or roundover, if you like). Finish with exterior primer and paint.

2. Rip the cedar 4×4 to 21⁄4″ by 21⁄4″. From the offcuts, cut four spacers, 3⁄4″ by 2″ by 16″. Cut the legs and armrests to length (note the mitre joints at the corners). To assemble, I used two biscuits and outdoor glue for each joint. If you use screws instead, install two #10 x 21⁄2″ screws horizontally through each leg and into the armrest. I would also countersink these holes and add plugs.

3. Using two #8 x 2″ screws each, glue and screw the spacers to the legs, positioning the edge of each spacer flush with the inside edge of a leg. Sand and finish (I used Home Hardware’s Wood Shield Best Exterior Wood Stain in Natural Cedar).

4. In each inside corner, drill three clearance holes with countersinks through the box ends to attach the legs with #10 x 21⁄2″ screws. (The box sits 11⁄4″ up from the bottom of the legs.)

5. I used four concealed lid hinges, which hold the lid open at 90°. With the particular hinges I used, I needed to cut 3⁄4″ by 23⁄4″ by 3/16″ mortises in the box side.


Illustration by Len Churchill


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