How to Replace Wood in Park Benches


There is nothing quite as useless as a beautiful bench, in a perfect spot, with a seat and back too worn to sit on. A well-maintained bench can add enjoyment to any yard or park. Even a novice carpenter can replace the wooden parts in almost any park bench with just a little spare time and some common tools.

Things You'll Need

  • Drill and screw bit
  • Pliers or wrench
  • Tape measure
  • Carpenter's quick square
  • Circular power saw, jig saw or handsaw
  • Table saw (optional)
  • Lumber in the dimension of the bench slats
  • Machine screws, nuts and locking washers
  • Sander or sanding block and sandpaper
  • Stain and lacquer or paint
  • Paintbrush

Disassemble the Bench

  • Remove all of the screws that hold the original wooden pieces in place with a drill, screw bit and pliers. Hold on to at least one bench slat and one back slat to use as templates for the new pieces.

  • Scrape away any rust or debris on the metal bench ends that will prevent the screws from seating properly. Use a wire brush or sandpaper and scrape off any loose paint as well. Give the bench ends a fresh coat of paint. Use spray paint for the best results and allow the bench to dry thoroughly.

  • Set aside any reusable screws, nuts and washers and scrape any rust or debris from them. Make note of how many usable pieces you have and how many you will need.

Cut New Pieces

  • Make a list of the parts you need to cut, using your old slats as templates. Make note of the height, width and length to ensure a proper fit with the ends of your bench. Note the exact size and placement of any screw holes. It may help to draw out your parts on paper.

  • Cut new slats from larger stock using a table saw. Once you have enough lumber of the proper dimensions, cut your pieces to length using a power or hand saw. Watch out for large splits and open knots. Discard any pieces that do not seem strong enough to support the necessary weight. Cut a few extra in case of splitting or drilling errors.

  • Carefully mark and drill new screw holes. Consider countersinking the top sides of your slats to allow for the screw heads. Refer to your original slats and copy them as close as possible.

  • Thoroughly sand each piece. Stain or paint your slats if you choose. Allow adequate drying time before moving on.

Reassemble Your Bench

  • Attach two or three slats to one end of your bench, but do not fully tighten the screws. Check the spacing for the correct screw holes and attach the opposite ends to the other end of the bench, but again, do not fully tighten the screws.

  • Check for proper placement as you install the remaining slats. Work from front to back.

  • Tighten all of the screws using a drill and pliers or a wrench to get a snug fit once all of the slats are in place.

Tips & Warnings

  • Adequate sanding, a good paintbrush and carefully following the manufacturer's instructions are the best tips for a quality wood finish.
  • When working with power tools, always read and follow all safety precautions.
  • Read and follow all instructions and precautions for paint and stain products, and be sure to work with adequate ventilation.

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  • Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Lifesize/Getty Images
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