Leopold benches can be made in many different sizes and even shapes. Here is one my local Wild Ones Fox Valley Area Chapter had built this year as a thank you gift for outgoing President Loris Damerow. Wild Ones member Steve Wissink constructed the bench and I asked him to share the details with me to pass along to you. Sounds like a good rainy-day/weekend project.
Materials to Build a Single 48″ Leopold Bench
2 ea Red Cedar 2x6x6′ (legs)
1 ea Red Cedar 2x6x8’ CUT IN 2 PCS @ 45” (seat)
1 ea Red Cedar 2x6x8’ CUT IN HALF @ 48” (back)
3 ea Red Cedar 2x2x10” (supports under seat – one at each end & middle)
6 ea 5/16×3-1/2″ carriage bolts
6 ea 5/16 flat washers
6 ea 5/16″ hex nuts
22 ea 1/4 flat washers
22 ea 1/4 x2-1/2” lag screws
Use one 2x6x6’ board for each SET of legs – 1 front/1 back. Cut front legs at 36-7/8” and back legs at 15-3/4”. The outer 2×2 under seat supports rest on top of the shorter back legs.
Steve used 60° for all leg angles (angle is not super critical – main thing is that ALL ARE CUT THE SAME ANGLE).
The single bench was made 48 inches wide overall in order to use 8-foot lumber, cut in half for the back. Bench width would then be 45 inches wide. Note: “2 by” lumber is actually only 1-1/2” thick.
Counter-bore the 8 holes in the ends of the seat boards with a ¾” diameter spade drill to allow screw heads to sit flush with seat. You can also counter-bore the 8 holes in the back boards. Not necessary but a nice touch.
The middle 2×2 seat support is screwed on from the bottom up.
Steve used Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana) wood for benches, but you can use any variety of wood. Red Cedar is lightweight, making it easy to move the bench around. It has an interesting grain pattern that shows knots and cracks. It is extremely durable outdoors; does not readily warp, split or rot. And lastly, its light-colored surface will weather to a lovely silver-gray patina. No need to stain or seal. However, feel free to stain, paint, seal or decorate in any way that is pleasing to you.
Building Double Bi-Directional 36″ Leopold Benches
Steve made this “bi-directional” bench simply by constructing two identical benches approximately 30 inches wide, faced them in opposite directions, and joined the adjacent legs together with long carriage bolts. The leg angles are the same regardless of direction so the front leg on the one bench matches the angle of the back leg on the other bench.
See also BRASH.