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Easy DIY X-Leg Bench Build Plans

You can never have too many benches! And you will love how easy this DIY X-Leg bench is to build.

One can never have too many benches! They are so useful for sitting and taking off shoes, having extra seating, storing bins underneath, piling plants on top, and so much more.

So when my sister-in-law asked me to make her some simple x-leg benches for her entryway remodel, I was excited to tackle the project.

I made two DIY X-leg benches to sit on either side of her wide entryway. They really anchor the space and add loads of function and style!

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Tropical potted plant in the foreground with the DIY x-leg bench in the background with a velvet pillow on top.

Working with Hickory

The DIY x-leg bench was designed to be super simple so we took the time to find some really beautiful wood to make them out of. Of course, my sister-in-law was drawn to the color and grain in the hickory wood.

I had not worked with hickory yet, because I was told it was extremely hard. The harder a wood species is, the more challenging it can be to work with.

But I decided a simple build plan was the best time to push myself to work with a new wood. And that was the perfect way to push my skills with a hard wood while still allowing myself success with the project.

Entryway with x-leg bench from lightwood and gold/white pillow, adobe planter, rug and sandals around it.

When working with a harder wood species, you need to be more patient. I milled my own lumber for these benches since we purchased the rough sawn lumber from the lumber yard.

When ripping the boards to 1×4 sizes for the legs, I didn’t try to cut through the entire 3/4″ thickness all at once.

Instead, I only lifted the blade on my table saw up 1/4″ and made a pass. Then up another 1/4″ and a pass. Then finishing off the remaining 1/4″ in a third pass.

Also, to cut the 1 1/2″ thick lumber for the top of the bench, I used my circular saw on a piece of 2″ rigid foam. The foam fully supports the board so it does not bend while being cut causing the blade to get pinched.

Horizontal photo of the bench in the entryway with a plant and accessories around it.

And even with the extra steps to safely cut the hickory boards, these simple DIY benches went together very quickly.

Now I am ready to take on another hickory wood project because the finished benches are stunning!!!

Simple Jig for the X-Legs

One challenge that I had when assembling the x-legs for the benches was how to get the legs to be perfectly flush on the bottom and top. It is hard to measure where to attach the two legs together because all the pieces are angled.

And if the legs are not perfectly flush on the top and bottom, you will end up with wobbly benches. No one wants that!

But I came up with the perfect solution: a super easy DIY jig!

Close up photo of the x-legs on the DIY bench with the blue velvet pillow and wicker suitcase under it.

Jigs can be made for any woodworking task that needs to be repeatable or to just make it easier. They are something I wish I would have learned about much earlier in my woodworking journey.

This jig is made up from just 3 scraps of wood and held together with just a few screws. But the result was making it super easy to make 4 legs (since I made 2 benches) that were identical and flat.

Entry nook with lots of houseplants hanging around the DIY bench with a wicker suitcase tucked underneath.

Need more storage with your benches? Check out this built in bench with storage or this simple upholstered storage bench.

How to Make an X-Leg Bench

Tools Needed:

Supplies:

  • Wood
    • 2×12 boards
    • 1×4 boards
    • 1/4″ dowel
  • 1″ wood screws
  • Dowel pins
  • Wood glue
  • DIY jig for leg assembly
    • 1×2 or plywood scraps
    • Wood screws

Cut the pieces

For our benches, I use hickory wood that I bought at my local lumber yard. But you can make your benches out of any wood, including lumber from your local home improvement store.

For the bench top, cut the 1×12 to 40″ long.

Cutting the top of the bench with a circular saw and guide track.

For the legs, cut four pieces of 1×4 to 17″ long with each end of the legs cut at a 20 degree angle. This makes the measurement of each piece from point-to-point closer to 15 1/2″.

Cutting the legs for the bench with a miter saw at an angle.

Build a jig for the leg assembly

Taking a minute to build this simple jig will make sure both sets of legs are flat on the bottom and the same once assembled.

Cut some scraps of 1×2 or ~1 1/2″ thick plywood so you can attach two ~3-4″ pieces so they are 10 1/2″ apart on a board.

I attached the smaller boards to the larger board with my Kreg jig and pocket hole screws, but you can just add screws in from the back to secure as well.

Making a jig for assembling the X-legs for the bench.

Build the legs

Before building the x-legs, use the doweling jig to add 2 holes for dowel pins to the tops of the four leg pieces.

If you do not have a doweling jig, you could also attach the legs to the bench top with these figure 8 fasteners instead.

Drilling dowel pin holes in the top of the leg pieces with a self-centering doweling jig.

Clamp your jig to your table so it is on the sides and then line the first leg piece up inside it. The bottom of the leg should be flush against the back of the jig and the outside of it should be touching the side of the jig.

Lay the second leg on top of the first so the bottom is also flush and the outer edge touches the other side of the jig. Mark where the two legs overlap.

Apply wood glue to the first leg only where the two legs will overlap. Then place the second leg back on top in position.

Adding glue to one of the leg pieces in the DIY jig.

Mark a line up the center of the overlapping legs.

Using a 1/4″ drill bit, drill two 1/4″-3/8″ holes in the top leg along this center line. One hole should be closer to the bottom and the other toward the top.

Then attach the two legs together with the 1″ wood screws through the holes. Make sure the legs stay in position in the jig as you secure them.

Two pictures showing drilling the holes for the screw and driving in the screw in the hole on one side of the x-legs.

Flip the leg over and mark the horizontal center line of the overlapping sections.

Then drill two more holes and secure with 2 more screws through them on this line. One should be closer to the left and the other closer to the right.

Now you should have a very sturdy x-leg. Repeat for the other leg.

Two pictures showing marking the placement for the screws on the other side of the X-legs and driving in the screws in holes.

Cut small pieces from your 1/4″ dowel and glue them into the holes drilled on the leg. Tap them securely into place. Then flush cut the excess off the top with a flush cut saw and sand smooth.

Repeat for both sides of both legs.

Three pictures showing glueing in the dowel to fill the hole for the screws, flush cutting the excess off, and sanding it smooth on the bench legs.

Attach the bench top

To attach the bench top, I used dowel center points inside the previously drilled dowel holes to line up where I needed to drill the holes on the underside of the top.

Using the dowels to attach the legs means you have zero visible joinery, but you can also attach the legs easier with these figure 8 fasteners. The fasteners would be mostly hidden under the bench.

Since I do not have a drill press, I used a portable drill guide to keep my drill vertical while drilling the holes for the pins.

Two pictures showing tapping in dowel centering points to line up the location of the legs on the bench top and drilling the holes in the bottom of the bench top.

To attach the legs, glue the dowel pins into the bench top, then add wood glue to the top of the legs and inside the dowel pin holes. Tap it into place on the pins.

Clamp the legs tight until the glue drys. Repeat for the other leg.

Two pictures showing glueing in the dowel pins and tapping the x-leg into place on the pins.

And now you are all done! You have a beautiful x-leg bench that has no visible screws or attaching.

I love the simplicity of these benches and it really allows for the beautiful wood my sister-in-law picked out to shine.

DIY x-leg bench made from hickory wood in an entryway with driftwood vinyl flooring and "hope you brought wine" rug in front with accessories.

Happy Building!

-Kati with picture of blog author Kati

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