Constructing a Storage Bench

Figure 1

Figure 1

A storage bench can be built easily and will be a useful feature in your home not only providing you with a simple spot to rest but also some storage place where you can place items in and away from view. A entry room, garden or courtyard bench seat can be constructed in the most simple way with wood, and makes for a handy place to store tools, spades and rakes to gloves and more.

It\’s also a great place to store extra sheeting and draperies if you have it in your living or bedroom. On a verandah or patio, it can be used as an outdoor \’mud room\’ for gum boots, gloves and hats, and even firewood.

Tools and Materials

For the box

  • Two pieces of 500 x 340 x 12mm exterior plywood that will work as box ends
  • Two 1630 x 340 x 12mm exterior plywood (box sides)
  • 1630 x 524 x 12mm exterior plywood (Box base)
  • 6 Cleats (31 x 31 x 340mm merbau)
  • 6 End cladding 90 x 19 x 524rnm merbau
  • 6 Side cladding 90 x 19 x 1668mm merbau

For the lid

  • 1635 x 530 x 12rnm exterior plywood (Lid)
  • Two short lid surrounds 90 x 19 x 530mm merbau
  • Two long lid surrounds 90 x 19 x 1673mm merbau
  • 6 top cladding 90 x 19 x 1800mm merbau

Other parts

  • 12 pieces of 90 x 19 x 90mm merbau (for feet)
  • Exterior PVA glue
  • 1.5 inch (38mm) stainless steel screws
  • exterior oil


The whole construction of the storage bench is illustrated in Figure 1. Construct the \’inner\’ box with the pieces of plywood (box ends, box base, lid and side).

  1. Attach the box ends with the 3 cleats 15 mm from the outer edges of the box ends on each side (mark the 3 holes for these cleats with one in the centre and one each 25 mm from top and bottom).
  2. For the box sides drill 3 holes 27mm in from the edge of the box sides and attach them together with cleats. Another row of holes halfway along the sides should be added.
  3. Cleats provide you with a good surface to drive a screw into, and increase the gluing area, thus giving you a stronger structure and joint. Glue the cleats to the edge of an end (either a box side of box end) then clamp it down. This will help hold the cleat together to the side/end so that you can drill pilot holes to screw in from the outside using stainless steel screws.
  4. Assemble the box by screwing the sides to the side cleats then add a cleat halfway.
  5. Attach the base plywood by screwing it into the edge of the plywood after pre-drilling and into the bottom of the cleats.

For the lid

  1. Cut the lid (1635 x 530 x 12rnm exterior plywood) about 5mm over size, then construct the lid in the same manner (sans the cleat) and make sure that when it is fitted to the box it is not too tight.
  2. Attach the long lid surround on this lid (when closed on the base box this life overlaps the top of the box marked \’A\’ on Figure 1).
  3. Attach the cladding for the lid with a 15 mm overhang at the sides and equal spacing at the ends. Make sure that there is a 12 mm space between each cladding.

Marking for the claddings on the box

  1. Now you can mark the end cladding that goes onto the sides of the box. Accurately mark screw holes about 30 mm from the ends and 20 mm from top and bottom edge. Do the same with the long side cladding, but mark a third hole centered (to screw the side cladding into the centre cleat) and 10 mm in from the edges. Also drill 2 holes at the centre of each long board (at 20 mm from the top and bottom edges).
  2. Mark the base box about 78 mm down from the top (marked as \’A\’ on Figure 1), then add a another 10 mm for the space to the top of the upper piece of cladding to be fixed to the box.
  3. Mark a few more spacings of 90, 10, 90 and 10 mm for the other three boards down the sides (marked B, C, and D in Figure 1). Mark the same around the box at these heights.
  4. Predrill all the markings on the cladding and apply construction adhesive. Glue the claddings, then screw the stainless steel screws in to secure it to the box.
  5. Screw two of the 19 mm thick feet pieces together for a total thickness of 38 mm and screws them to each corner. Screw the 2 leftover pair of blocks in the centre.


Apply 2 coats of a clear exterior oil finish on all surfaces to finish your project. Allow to dry overnight

You can place this storage bench anywhere in your home, whether it be in your patio, living room, bedroom, it serves as a great storage space where you can put items away from sight. You can also construct smaller units if you so wish by adjusting the measurements, but pretty much using the same methods of assembly.

More Reading

Better Homes and Gardens magazine, June 2006

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