Build Your Own Curved Fire Pit Bench

Firepit Bench - paint (click for more info) Oh yea, fall is here. Time for fire pit hangs. Nothing like sitting around with friends warming yourself with a fire and a stiff drink (like hot cocoa with extra chocolate…or a whiskey neat). Laura has a great backyard fire pit she put in a couple weeks ago. Last week we braved the elements (It was down in the 60s and drizzling. I almost had to put a hoodie on.) and built a bench. Initially, we planned on making it encircle the pit with a split hexagonal shape. As I was building the first half, we realized it was going to look a little too big for the space (Laura said it was looking like stadium seating compared to her yard). So we decided to scale back and just do one side, which worked out great, and there is still plenty of room for folks.

The build took about two days, which included the trip to Home Depot for supplies, which came to about $125. I’ve seen similar benches in the $2k range, so it was a pretty good deal. Alright, let’s get to the instructions so you can get to building. These plans can be scaled to fit your space and needs. I’m not going to get into specific measurements because you’ll probably want to build one that fits your space. This is more a guide to get you started and hopefully inspire you to build your own.

Firepit Bench (click for more info)

Supplies:
-pressure treated lumber (1 by 6s (for seating), 4 by 4s (for legs), 2 by 6s (for framing))

-2.5″ exterior screws (get the big box, we had to get more because I got the small box)
-5-6″ exterior lag bolts (to attach back rest braces)
-paint or stain

Tools:
-circular or miter saw (I just used a circular saw)

-straight edge/speed square
-drill
-sander
-pencil

Firepit Bench (click for more info) Firepit Bench (click for more info)

Firepit Bench (click for more info) Step One: The first thing I did was figure out what the heck I was doing. Even though I do sketches and calculate the lengths and angles on screen, it takes a minute to translate that to actual material. I used standard seating measurements (18″ deep, 18″ high, 18″ back support). After staring at my sketches (which consisted of a lot of paper rotating and deciphering of my handwriting), I decided to cut all of the frame pieces first (starting with the back/longest piece and building off that.)

Firepit Bench (click for more info) Firepit Bench (click for more info)

Step Two: After I got the seating frame all screwed together, we flipped it over. Then I cut all of the legs out, put them in place, then screwed them in. The screws I was using were extra beefy, so I just put two in each. Since we were building on grass, I had to put a piece of wood under each section I was working on to make it somewhat even. 

Firepit Bench (click for more info) Firepit Bench (click for more info)

Firepit Bench (click for more info) Step Three, and Four, maybe even Five: At this point I was just winging it, but since Laura was there, and I didn’t want to mess up her bench, I had to play it cool. So much pressure.

Not really. Anyway, we flipped the bench and I cut out all the back braces. I started out cutting them so they would lean back 20˚, expecting that I would have to dial it in with several cuts, but 20˚ was pretty perfect. I bolted the back in with a couple of the lag bolts, then realized we should have started by laying out and cutting the seat pieces. So I unbolted all of the backrest pieces and we proceeded with the seat pieces. After actually doing it, I think the best way to go about it (in the future) would be to start with the longest piece that is flush with the middle front section. Once you have that, evenly space the rest off of that one. We worked our way through the pieces by placing, spacing, marking, cutting, and repeating. After all the pieces were cut, we bolted the back pieces back on, then screwed all of the seat pieces on (of course you can take the faster, smarter route and just fit the seat slats first.) 

Firepit Bench (click for more info) Firepit Bench (click for more info)

Another last minute tweak: I had cut the back supports with 20˚ angle on top, thinking I was going to put a little ledge on top. Laura wanted a more streamlined and clean look, so I cut down the back of each one, leaving an inch on top. It does look good, but you can skip this step and screw some 2 by 6s (measure and cut to length) on top for a bit of a ledge to lean on or to place your drink on.

Firepit Bench (click for more info) In order to match up the angles on the back support pieces, we did a bit of improvising (sense a theme here?). We started with the top pieces: Laura held the piece for one side and I held one for the other, then marked where they met up. I cut the ends at 20˚only because the back braces were cut at 20˚, and that worked! After we got the top row screwed in, we debated putting the second row spaced like the seating or in the middle. Middle placement won, and it looks great. It always helps to have help on a project like this so you can bounce ideas off each other, and a helping hand is invaluable.

Firepit Bench (click for more info) Firepit Bench - paint (click for more info)

Firepit Bench - paint (click for more info)

Laura and Todd painted the bench a couple days later, and it looks great. I feel pretty good about how it all turned out. When Todd sat on it, he said, “Now this is a bench.” The Todd mark of approval… what more could I ask for? – Josh

 

Firepit Bench - paint (click for more info) Firepit Bench - paint (click for more info)

 

Firepit Bench - paint (click for more info) Credits // Author: Joshua Rhodes, Photography: Sarah Rhodes & Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with Stella of the Signature Collection.

Update:  Josh does’t have the exact measurements for this post, but here are some tips:

-The bench is half of a hexagon, so all of the miter cuts to achieve the curvature are 30º.
-The slats on top of the bench don’t have to be measured exactly—just rough cut them to approximate size, lay them down, and then cut them flush all at once with a circular saw.
-Be sure to assemble the slats on before going for the back rest.
  • I wish I was handy with wood work, I’d make this right away! It looks so sturdy and perfect for outside. I love the fact that you can customize it to your liking.

    StephanieLists.com

  • Plans! Plans! It’s terrific! I have a teenaged son who is just itching to make this!

  • This tutorial is really cool ! Thank you, it’s so great to build your own bench 🙂
    I have a question tho, where did you buy the graphic black and white cushion? It obsessed me, I love it !!

  • I wish my boyfriend was handy with tools like this!! It looks fab!

    Josie xoxo | Fashion Mumblr

  • This looks adorable! Now I just need to convince my boyfriend to make this, because I might be a bit too clumsy for this DIY 🙂

    aniqadreams.blogspot.com

  • This is really gorgeous, If I wasn’t so handless I might’ve attempted something like this! There’s something about doing it for yourself rather than just buying from a shop. makes it your own x

    Emma | The Fashion Six

  • I’m so going to have my husband make this for me next summer. It looks so easy and yet so chic.

    Connie | Sponsored by Coffee

  • I’ve been looking forward to this post since you posted your firepit tutorial. I love your backyard so much. Now, I just have to ask: where did you get your adorable hammock?

    • Me, too. I need some information on how much wood I will be using and the measurement of each. Thank you and I would appreciated.

  • This looks great. I’m inspired to build this around my fire pit. Thank you 🙂

  • So cute! I love that you squared the seat to the center angle. That adds a great touch. Thank you for the share!

  • Any chance of getting more detail plans on lengths of wood and assembly. I am a beginner.

  • Can you tell me how many of each sized lumber that I would need to purchase. (i.e. a shoping list)?
    (1 by 6s (for seating), 4 by 4s (for legs), 2 by 6s (for framing))

  • hey listen – i like you two… i like the bench (nice!) – your color choices for accessories are offensive!

  • I was wondering the same as Brian on how many of each cut of wood you need. Sorry but I am a novice and need all the help I can get ? Thank you. I really hope to make this as it’s so hard to find affordable fire pit seating.

  • Do you have a list of lumber I would need to build this? Very nice project

  • I built this bench this week. For those looking for material specifics, I used:
    6 – 10′ 2×6
    2 – 6′ 4×4
    8 – 10′ 5/4×6 deck boards
    2 – 12′ 5/4×6 deck boards
    * all wood treated
    32 – 3 1/2 ” Lag screws (4 for each leg)
    12 – 5″ lag screws (2 for each back rest bracket)
    Large (5#) box of 3 1/2″ deck screws.
    I did put the shelf on top of the backrest braces so if you choose not to do that, 9 of the 10′ deck boards should suffice.

    • My wife saw this bench and ask if I could make it for her. I loved the idea and the way it turned out. We have the same fire pit. I was wandering if you had a detailed sketch of the plans. I can’t build by pictures, I need something to go by.

      If you wouldn’t mind emailing them to me this will be my next project. Thank you for your time.

      My name is Bryon Terry
      Email brysher17@yahoo.com

      • Hi Byron

        same here I can’t built by pictures, did he send you the specs if so can you email me as well.

    • Would you be able to give me the measurements u used for each board for the frame

    • Did you cut notches onto the back boards to mount the back braces? It almost looks like it but I just want to make sure.

    • Madtown Dave- thanks so much for the materials list- very helpful!! Can you share your dimensions and measurements for each portion with us? I know that he went 18x18x18, but it would helpful to know how long to cut the boards for the frame.

      My email is santhony5@yahoo.com.

      Thank you so much!

    • Could you please give me your measurements you cut everything too.
      i know its 18x18x18….but what was the rest of the boards cut at…
      Also, is 20 degrees the best. Or would 15 degrees work better ?
      Thank you so much for posting. My next project is here lol

    • Thanks that was so helpful!! What angle did you use for the framing? Where the 2 sides meet the center.

    • How sturdy is this bench with the 20 degree angle if u lean back does it feel tippy. Looks like it would tip backwards

    • Do you possibly remember the measurements and stuff to cut the boards?

    • do you have the building plans measurements you could share
      thanks

    • As Josh noted, he did not provide specific cut sizes as they would vary with the diameter of the firepit. Also how far you want to set the bench from the pit. My pit is about 48″. I am in the process of building a 2nd bench as the 1st time we used the original one, the wind was not cooperating. This will give more flexibility to move. My cut list for the frame:
      8 – 18″ 4×4 for legs
      3 – 60″ 2×6 for the back bench pieces joined with 22.5° miters.
      2 – 54″ 2×6 for the fronts of the end pieces
      1 – 46 ” 2×6 for the front middle section cut with 45° miters.
      8 – 15″ 2×6 for the support pieces between the front and back.
      6 – 26″ 2×6 for the back braces. These end up at 24 ” once the angles are cut.

      The 20° angle worked well for us. There is enough weight and offset where it would take a lot to get this to tip back.

      We found it very comfortable. It wouldnt take much to make cushions if more padding is desired.

      I used a router to round the cut edges for the seating boards.

      I haven’t figured a good angle/miter for joining the horizontal back pieces. If i figure it out, I’ll post my findings.

  • Can you provide more detailed blue prints with dimensions and angles?

  • What were the approximate mitre cut angles for the bench portion to create the semi-circle?

  • Is there anyone with a Beautiful Mess or the author that could provide the measurements that everyone seems to be asking for? Lots of people asking with no responses. Thank you!

  • For those interested, a cut list:
    Frame:
    4 pcs – 2×6 x 48
    1 pc – 2×6 x 54 5/8, with 45° ends, longest end measured
    1 pc – 2×6 x 39 3/4 with 45° ends, longest end measured
    (Those 2 lengths should provide 15″ between them for 5/4 board support when secured to 48 x 18″ frames)
    8 pcs 2×6 x 15
    6 pcs 2×6 x 24, vertical back support, 20° cut on one end for attaching to frame, thus about 18″ up from frame.
    5/4 lumber cut when placed on frame.
    The frame lengths can be adjusted for any liking. This layout works well for a 32- 36″ pit with about a 3′ space between the pit and bench.

  • Thanks for sharing, I have had this saved for a long time and looked forward to making. Then my wife tags me in a Facebook post saying she would like me to build this, and after a lot of people saying how good it would look, blah,blah,blah I decided to make it. Tweeted it a bit as I used what I had on hand. But again thanks for sharing and inspiring me to make this awesome project.

  • THANK YOU for posting this article! I’ve only been woodworking for about six months, and I was able to make this bench alone. Actually, I made two. I wish I could paste a photo. I loved the suggestion to put a ledge on the back for drinks. I did that, and it comes in very handy for wine and s’mores ingredients. Thank you for helping us to make our fire pit awesome!

  • Hey all. I’ve been putting this together and the only thing I haven’t figured out is the angle to cut the back pieces at so they attach at 20 degrees. Can someone share this?

    • On my compound miter saw, i set the angle to 10° and the bevel to 22.5°. Didn’t match perfectly but close enough for me.

      • Hey Dave, I did this cut. It seems to work on the planks that are attached to 2×6’s to make the back rest. Thanks for that. I think I may have mis-phrased though. I am working on attaching the 2×6 to the back of the seat frame so it reclines at the right angle. That is what I cannot find.

        • Bill, each end of the backrest support is cut at 20°. I put that 20° cut against the fence on my saw and cut it at 90°. I used a square to determine where to start the cut such that the length of the surface would be 5 1/2 ” to match the width of the 2×6. HTH

          • hey Dave. just getting back to this post. your instructions were spot on. Thanks again.

          • For the 2×6 braces for the backrest. Does anyone know the angle on a speed square? When I use 20 it’s apears the back rest would decline too much.

    • Glad I could help. We live on a hillside in the sticks and the chairs we had around our pit before just didn’t cut it. My real challenge was getting the benches level. We enjoy our firepit much more now. As long as we can keep the mosquitoes at bay that is.

  • Hi love your work was wondering how many blocks did it take to make the fire pit an what all was used because i have been trying to make a nice one at my place and say that and would love to create that can you send me info on this please thank you

  • I do not understand how you attached the 2×6 back supports to the bench bottom. Would you happen to have a pic?

  • Dave or anyone out there. My question is about the backrest and lags. Did you use the2x6 for the backrest frame and if so Did you bolt in from underneath into the 2×6? I see that you recommend 5 or 6 inch lag bolts so I am assuming that you are bolting from under unless of cours you are using 1×6 for the backrest frame??

    Thanks
    Nick

    • I bolted from inside the bench frame into the 2×6 backrest support. I also used a large washer to keep the bolt from pulling through. As noted by the author, it is best to cut the bench pieces 1st, remove them, then attached the backrest supports. This way you can bolt the backrest supports from the top instead of from underneathe. Then screw the bench pieces in place.

  • This is very helpful, so thank you! However, if you are going to show people how to build a bench, giving precise measurements would be very much appreciated. Considering that many people who might attempt to build this based off of your instruction won’t have much experience with building, it’s very hard to just wing it.

  • Was wondering how many 2×6 you used? I’m gonna build one myself and am experienced with wood working. And the length as well. Thank you! Your bench looks great!