This simple looking project is labor intensive. But really fun. I cheated a little and used my bandsaw to do a lot of the work. But even at that it is tough. I got the hang of shaping the spindles about the 8th one. Paul said he thought it created a rustic look so I decided not to redo them… I did a little innovation as well attaching the middle support. In stead of using screws to attach it I used a through tenon and will wedge it in place on assembly. I think it gives the front of the bench a little crafty look!
I finally got it done. It was labor intensive but I learned a lot from this project. My first bench is made from Spruce but the next one will be Oak. This one may go in front of my shop when I get the porch built. Have you ever been working and say to yourself’ “that is why Paul said to do it this way”? Then I throw that piece in the burn pile an make it over. Well this one is done and I’m considering the finish.
Looks very nice. Curious to know what finish (if any) you plan to apply.
Did you do drawboring or clamped and pegged? (referring to the discussion here: cedar bench). I’m still at prep phase on my cedar version — going slow with a few hours per week to spare, but hopefully will be there before the summer comes and goes.
Selva, I used the draw bore pins just like Paul did in the videos. I didn’t have any issues other than my mistakes (Hey, even Paul says ooooops now and then) The pine it’s self worked out just fine. I’m having some Oak cut at the mill to make the next one! it’s really fun to build!
I started my second Garden Bench this week end. Man am I teaching myself by making mistakes… careful when driving in the draw bore pins.. Pine breaks out pretty easy.. Dang it!.. But it was fixable. My granddaughter should have a new garden Bench by next week.. BTW.. I didn’t apply any finish on mine. I’m going to let it age and darken a bit and then maybe put some polyurethane on it.
Sandy, thanks for the follow up. Speaking of oopsies, a while back I was staring at a mortise I made for the second arm at a wrong location — measured downward instead of up.
I am not drawboring but gluing (and pegging for insurance). But for now struggling to get the vertical slats shaped into a presentable form.
- This reply was modified 4 years, 5 months ago by Selva.
Selva, I actually had fun sizing the spindles (Vertical slats). Drilling the test hole in a piece of scrap to test the size as you go is key to success. I used coin just as Paul did in the video and it worked out perfect. When I put the back together everything fit up great. I just thought about something though. Paul split his stock instead of cutting it to the ruff size. I suppose that was to get the grain as straight as possible along the center of the spindle. I sawed mine and haven’t had any trouble so far. I may split mine on the second bench.
Those shots look great, Sandy, good job! I just finished my first one this week – what a great project. I found Paul’s balance between “watch out for this” and letting us go off and do it without too much handholding just right for this particular project. Managed to pull the whole thing off with just the hand-tools. It was slower, a bit, but so extremely satisfying. This is my first work with drawbores and I have to say I’m hooked. What a great way to pull the joints in on these larger pieces especially. I’ve got a couple more spots in the garden that need these perches, so two more to come as time permits.
My first is tight-knot pine and I’ve stained it and then finished it with three coats of spar (marine) varnish. I live near the water on the west coast of Canada, and there’s lots of salt (and rain!) in the air, so I’m hoping that will help keep things together for a while before it needs re-finishing.
Ian, that’s a good looking bench. You’ll enjoy that for years to come.
Finnishing is one of my least loved activities although it should be a priority for this one since it is going to live outside.
I’ve never used Marine varnish but I may have to give that a try. I’d also considered a preasure treated runner on each side to sit the legs on to keep it safe from moisture coming up from the ground.
I do like what Paul said though about letting it go back to nature. But I think I’ll extend the life of mine with a little finish.
Thanks for sharing the picture.
At long last, my knotty cedar version is taking shape. In spite of many mistakes and in-judicious cutting (as Paul would say), this project is real fun.
My tiny basement shop has no place to back off and take a picture that spans the full width, and
first time publicly posting anything I made, so here goes a bashful picture.. Rails are from 2×4 and 2×6’s planed down to 1 3/8″, so thicker than Paul’s dimensions.
That’s a great looking Bench Selva. Nothing to be bashful about there. This is one of the fun projects and I am so glad Paul did this project. I started on my 3rd one this week and I have a paying order for one made from Oak.
There were a couple of things I did a bit different from the project series. In the center support, I used through tenons and wedged them with a walnut wedge.
The other thing that I did was use Kreg Jig and pocket screws instead to hold the slats down.
I like the beefy look of the thicker boards. I used 2×6 but planed them down to just over 1 inch. I may go with 1 3/8 on the next one.
The frame is rock solid but the slats squeak a bit when sat on — especially after left unoccupied for a while. This may be due to the slats not seating well as the side rails are curved but the slats are not shaped to match. I finished the slats and frame separately before screwing in (a few coats of varnish) which might be aiding the noise to be more pronounced. Anything I can do to reduce the squeakiness?
I’m tempted to take out the slats and shape their underside to seat them well on the rails but would like to avoid the extra work.
I also finished the slats before putting them on (spar varnish), and they are not carved to the supports, but I’m not getting squeaking – not sure what would drive that. Before shaping the slats, I’d probably try using a bit of paste wax on the support top to allow the slats to move the tiny bit it is trying to, without a squeak. Worth a try.
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