How to build a Jack and Jill bench

wooden jack and jill seat with middle table

Very comfortable. Ours is where I have my first coffee most mornings. It is inexpensive to make and is a simple construction.  Author: Les Kenny


jack and jill companion seat finished

Note: This project DOES NOT contain any plan drawings. Plan drawings are only in the PREMIUM PLANS at leskenny.com version. To find out why click here.

This is my fourth version of this type of companion seat and each version has been progressively improved upon in comfort, cost, and building technique.

About the wood size

This bench is made solely out of 2″x3″ (75mm x 50mm ) and 1″x6″ (150mm x 25mm) rough sawn wood.
I used rough sawn (not dressed, planed, or dimensioned) because (a) I like it, and (b) it is cheaper.
And, because the wood has not been dressed (planed or dimensioned), the size is what it is. I.e., the nominal size is the actual size (or near enough). Sure, if you paint it, it will take a bit more paint or stain – but certainly nothing to write home to mum about.

Using fairly common lengths (although that will vary from place to place), you will need:
2″x3″ (75mmx50mm ): 6 lengths @ 8ft (2400mm)
1″x6″ (150mmx25mm): 8 lengths @ 6ft (1800mm)

Pictorial overview of the steps that follow

My thoughts behind authoring this project was to try and make it as easy as possible to grasp, with lots of pictorial direction in the form of plan drawings, photos of the build, isometric drawings, and step-by-step instructions.
Below is an isometric image summary of the steps to follow.

step by steo pictorial summary of making a jack and jill seat

The Cutting List – List & Instructions

This is the wood you will need:
13 meters (43ft) of 2″x3″ (75mmx50mm ) wood.
13.5 meters (45ft ) of 1″x6″ (150mmx25mm) wood.

Tip: To avoid waste, purchase the longest lengths available, and when cutting always cut the longest components first.

Cut the pieces

Using 2″x3″ (75mmx50mm ) wood

(A) front leg: Cut two pieces @ 24″ (610mm) long. Miter both ends of each piece 5°. The miters will be parallel
(B) rear leg: Cut two pieces @ 24-3/4″ (629) long. Miter both ends of each piece 15°. The miters will be parallel
(C) side-frame top rail: Cut two pieces @ 25″ (635mm) long. For each piece miter one end 17°, and cut a corner off the other end.
(D) seat-frame cross-member: Cut four pieces @ 17-1/2″ (444mm) long. For Each piece miter one end 12°.
(E) seat-frame front/rear member: Cut two pieces @ 62-3/4″ (1594mm) long.
(F) back-rest rail: Cut one piece @ 66-3/4″ (1694mm) long.
(G) table frame top rail: Cut one piece @ 18-1/2″ (470mm) long.
(H) tale frame upright: Cut two pieces @ 10-1/4″ (260mm) long. For each piece bevel one end in 5°.

Using 1″x6″ (150mmx25mm ) wood

(J) arm rest & tabletop board: Cut five pieces @ 27″ (685mm) long.
(K) back-rest board: Cut six pieces @ 22-1/4″ (565mm) long.
(L) seat board: Cut seven pieces @ 35″ (890mm) long.

Step 1. The side-frames – Pictures

jack and jill seat side-frame made

Step 1. The side-frames- Instructions

Refer to the plan drawings and pictures on the previous page for more visual guidance for this step.

Each end frame consists of front leg (A), rear leg (B), and top rail (C).

1.1.   On the top rail (C) measure in 1-1/2″ (38mm) from the front and pencil a line (x) from top to bottom 5° off square.
Also measure in 6-3/4″ (172mm) from the back and pencil another line (Y) from top to bottom 15° off square.
Insure the pieces mirror one another..

1.2.   Align the front leg (A) with the front pencil line (X) on the top rail (C) , and align the rear leg (B) with the rear pencil line (Y).
Ensure the tops of the legs are flush with the top of the top rail and secure with screws or nails as shown in the drawing below. Secure with 3-1/2″ (90mm) galvanized nails or screws. Four at each meeting.

Step 2. The seat-frame – Pictures

jack and jill seat-frame made

Step 2. The seat-frame – Instructions

The seat-frame consists of front and rear members (E), and 4 cross-members (D).

The cross-members (D) have a miter cut at one end, angled 12° off square.

2.1.   Fix (nail or screw) the front and rear members (E) to the four cross-members (D).

Ensure the cross-members (D) are spaced according to the measurements given in the plan.

Pay particular attention to the measurement between the two intermediate cross-members. I.e., the measurement between the two middle cross-members.

Use 4″ (100mm) galvanized nails or similar length wood screws suitable for exterior use.

Step 3. Joining the side-frame and seat-frame

seat-frame and side-frames assembly detail

Commence Fixing the side-frames to the seat-frame as shown in the plan drawing and pictures above.

3.1.   Measure and mark, 7″ (178mm) down the from the top of the front edge of the front leg (A). That is where the top front of the seat-frame will go.

3.2.   Measure and mark, 9-1/8″ (231mm) down from the top of the back edge of the rear leg (B). The top of the seat-frame will align with that point. (See the plan drawing at the top)

3.3.   Fix the side-frames to the seat-frame with 4″ (100mm) galvanized nails or screws. 3 at each meeting.

Use clamps to hold the seat-frame in position against the side-frames until secured.

Step 4. Add the backrest rail

isometric veiw of jack and jill seat having back rail fixed

Fix the backrest rail (F) in between the side-frame top rails (C) positioned as shown in the pictures.
Fix with 4″ (100mm) galvanized nails or screws. 3 at each meeting.

photo of jack and jill seat having back rail fixed

Step 5. Table support-frame – Plans & pics

bench seat middle table isometric drawing

Step 5. Table support-frame – Instructions

bench seat table support-frame

The table support-frame consists a top rail (G) 18-1/4″ (464mm) long, fixed to two uprights (H) 10-1/4″ (260mm) long, both upright pieces having a 5° bevel at the top.
The top rail is nailed or screwed to the uprights as shown in the drawings.

bench seat support table cross section

Important!
5.1.   The uprights (H) are bevelled 5° at the top.
So when fixing the top rail (G) to the uprights (H), place (G) a smidgeon below the top of the uprights (H)   so that the front top of the top rail (G) (as marked with the red cross in the drawing) will be in line with the bevel at the top of the uprights (H) (as shown in the red dashed line).

Then go ahead and secure with 3-1/2″ (90mm) galvanized nails or screws – 3 at each meeting. That completes the table support-frame.

5.2.   Next – nail (or screw) the bottom of the table support-frame uprights to the inside of the seat-frame front member (E).
Secure with 3-1/2″ (90mm) galvanized nails or screws – 3 at each meeting.
Before fixing, ensure that the top of the table support-frame is level with the top of the backrest rail (F), and the top of the side-frame top rails (C).

table support-frame fixing detail

Step 6. Table-top and Armrest

The tabletop and armrest boards (J) are all 1″x6″ (150mmx25mm ) boards, 27″ (685mm) long. There are five in all.

6.1.   Lay and fix the boards in position as shown in (fig 1.) below.
Position the armrest boards so the inside edge is flush with the inside sides of the legs, and so the ends of the boards overhang the backrest rail by 3/8″ (10mm).
Position the tabletop boards parallel, spaced along the table support-frame (there will be a small gap between the boards), and so the ends of the boards overhang the backrest rail by 3/8″ (10mm).
6.2.   Secure with 2-1/2″ (60mm) galvanized nails or screws and then shape to suit with a jig-saw (fig 2.). Refer to the arm-rest plan at the top of the page for the shape.

armrest and tabletop boards on bench drawing
armrest and tabletop boards on bench pphoto

Step 7. The backrest

jack and jill seat backrest isometric drawing
jack and jill seat backrest photos

Instructions

plan of backrest cut
seat bench backrest pieces layed out

For the backrest you will need seven 1″x6″ (150mmx25mm ) boards (L) @ 35″ (890mm) long.

7.1.   For one board only, rip it (cut lengthwise) into 4 wedge like pieces. Refer to the drawing above (fiq 1.).

7.2.   When fitting, lay out the boards as shown in the drawing (fiq 2.).

7.3.   For ease of fitting, tilt the frame unit over on its back, on a work bench or work stools.

7.4.   Align each backrest layout (fiq 2.) in between the table and arms and align the bottom of each layout with the bottom edge of rear seat-frame member (E).
You can then fix them to seat-frame member (E) and backrest rail (F) with 2-1/2″ (60mm) flat-head galvanized nails or screws.

7.5.   Mark a circle at the top of each backrest set (or what ever shape or pattern tickles your fancy) and cut it out with a jig-saw.

You can use a stick to get a radius as shown in the picture below.

photo of the benchseat having the backrest boards fitted

Step 8. The seat boards

jack and jill seat isometric drawing

Simply nail the seat-boards to the seat-frame cross-members (D). No explanation needed really.   Done!

jack and jill seat photo

Note: You can purchase this DIY article in downloadable file including plan drawings with dimensions for a small cost from the Premium Plans at leskenny.com section.