I'm making a bench from the Family Handyman web site. Here is the link: http://www.familyhandyman.com/woodworking/projects/build-a-painting-bench/view-all They said " Cut parallel 5-degree bevels on the top and bottom of the legs". I don't understand why cutting the legs with a bevel? How is the bench seat is going to fit on the legs if they are cut with the bevel?

I'm a beginner, I which there was a woodworking club close to where I live !! thank you for the answer Carole

2 Answers 2


The legs are beveled on the top and bottom so that they can lean inward a little bit. In other words, the distance between the tops of the legs is less than the distance between their bottoms. Because the bench top and feet are intended to be level, you cut a matching bevel on the top and bottom of each leg.

project diagram

These inward-leaning legs work in combination with the "stretcher" (32" arched pieces) to make the bench stronger. The angle means the bottom of the legs will be pulled outward as weight is applied to the bench. However, the stretchers prevent the legs from spreading out. It's a similar structure to a sawhorse.


The bevel is so the top sits flat & in full contact with the legs, due to the legs & stretchers being flared outward at their bottoms. Without it the top would just sit on the outside corner & even be difficult to screw. Additionally, the whole top to bottom flare is for stability so the bench won't tip to one side or the other & the legs won't buckle & slide under on its way to collapsing.

If the legs were straight down the stretchers would need to be a lot taller & even be repeated at the bottom in order to prevent collapse. This is proven design & you'll see the same flaring in most chairs, step ladders, picnic tables, painting easels, etc. Another design is to do straight or flared legs with an X-type bracing, this is much stronger but less appealing & more rustic.

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