Building Inexpensive and Super-Cool Fire Pit Benches

I’d consider myself sort of middle-of-the-road when it comes to construction. I’m somewhat handy, but really can’t handle anything with angles or special cuts. If it involves any math outside of using a standard tape measure, then count me out. Not going to happen. But all that noted, I do like to get creative and build things that I need, rather than always buy them. I’m a big advocate of trying to reuse material instead of buying new off the shelf at the local big box store. Portland, Oregon is a hot spot for house deconstruction and salvage. We have places like The Rebuilding Center that just make me giddy whenever I enter those two big wooden doors. In a nutshell, their staff will head to local buildings and tear them down – very carefully – salvaging all possible material for reuse. Then I get to waltz into their wood warehouse and choose from about anything you can possibly imagine. Ship-lap, massive structure-bearing beams, vintage glass pane windows, or orignal oak flooring from a 1800’s Victorian house. You get the picture. There are two notable benefits to the consumer: 1) You have access to material that has such history, quality, and personality; and 2) the price is pennies on the dollar compared to what you’d pay at a lumber retailer.
So, for a total of $16.88, I walked out with all the wood required to build two fire pit benches (5′ long x 18″ deep x 18″ tall). And I guarantee you, no one in the world has a matching set! These were built with ship-lap and reclaimed wood from a 1928 house on Fremont Street in Portland. You’ll find photos and a materials list below. I chose not to paint mine, simply because I really liked the lived-on and weathered look. But you can do whatever you like – paint, stain, or whitewash! These are very stable, comfortable, and will bring a little character to your deck or fire-pit… or garden… or front porch… or wherever you choose to put them! Have fun building!


Bench Frame Finished Bench

Finished Benches in Yard



  1. They look so great! Love the job you did and thanks for the info. I’ll need it when and if we ever get our mountain fire pit dressed up a bit from the present burn pile!!!

  2. Way to go – those look very nice. I would say get the marshmallows ready but I don’t like marshmallows, but I do like a good burnt hot dog.

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