Making a simple wooden bench can be anything from a chunk of cut log to a three legged bench made of scrap wood. Here are a couple of ideas of how to make or how to create a simple bench. During one rather severe winter storm we lost an eighty foot white pine tree alongside our path by the lake. Starting to cut away the tree branches that protruded into the path way I could see that many of the larger, stiffer branches had actually punctured themselves down into the ground. The main trunk of the tree was horizontal and being held about three feet above the pathway. I cut away all the branches facing the path as flush as possible with the trunk. Removing both ends of the fallen trunk and cutting it up for campfire wood, left a nice sixty foot long log suspended above the ground.
I cut away all the branches on the the top and backside of the log and left only those branches that were supporting the log itself. The grand kids were busy stacking the cut pieces of logs by the fire ring and were eagerly awaiting a break for lunch. They were asking what we were going to do with all that wood when we finished and I told them we were already done. After lunch was over I told them we were going to make some benches and all they had to do was sit down. They liked that idea just fine. The littlest granddaughter aged three sat on the log and I could see her feet dangled about a foot above the ground. No problem at all. Putting her at a safe distance away, I cut out a flat section on the top of the log about three feet long and a foot deep. Once shaped she could easily climb into "her" seat and sit. I repeated this step for each grand kid and all three had their own private seat to use. I cut several more seats higher up in the log for adults to stop and rest on the their walks. These simple "benches" will last for many, many years and cost noting to make but some sweat.
Over the years I have built benches between two closely placed trees. There is a trick to doing this without harming the tree. Pick two trees about six foot apart and twelve inches or more in diameter. Using two PT two by fours lay one on each side of the trunks. Measure up about thirty inches and mark with chalk or crayon that that is the height of your bench. You want to install three cross braces between the two two by fours to hold the long two by fours up against the tree trunk. It will look like a little ladder.
Now add at least three two by four or larger legs to the frame. These should be PT as well. Your frame will be held in place by the tree trunk and keep it from falling over. No screws or nails go into the trees themselves. Keeping the frame slightly loose will allow the trees to sway without breaking the bench. Install some two by four cross pieces on the flat for seating and you have another simple and inexpensive beach. A third bench can be constructed using whatever materials you can find in the field. Flat stones make great supports and will last forever. Make the stone piers good and large and sturdy. You do not want your bench to rock. Using a heavy timber, used planks, an old barn beam or even a plank cut from a local downed tree, place it on top of the stone piers and carefully with your hatchet or knives, shape the bottom of the wood piece to fit snugly atop the stones. A couple of hours of work and you have another long lasting simple wooden bench.