large cedar planter box

Welcome! Forums General Woodworking Discussions Projects large cedar planter box

Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #515134
    radar
    Participant

    My new project is a large planter box for our strawberries that will sit on our driveway. Overall dimensions are 6ft x 3ft x 2ft high, wood is 2×12 rough cut cedar for the walls, 4×4 for the corner posts and bottom supports, cedar fence pickets for the bottom slats, and some 1×4 for trim along the top edge.

    I’ve been getting a really strong hankering to build some kind of timber frame structure, but since I won’t get to do that for the foreseeable future, I decided to make the planter box with wood joinery. This is probably an absurd amount of extra effort for what’s essentially a box of dirt, but for me the whole point of woodworking is not my efficiency or productivity, but to spend time working wood.

    Attached images are the pile of lumber to start with and a little bit of stock prep.

    #515144
    radar
    Participant

    The walls will fit into the corner posts in breadboard-style mortise and tenons. For the haunches, I cut 1/2″ wide by 1/2″ deep dadoes into two adjacent sides of each post. I first marked with a mortising gauge, then deepened the lines with a knife, sawed kerfs roughly to depth with my rip tenon saw, and then routed out the dadoe with my router plane. I love my router plane so this was pretty enjoyable.

    #515167
    radar
    Participant

    Chopping the mortises is under way. So far I’ve finished 8 of 32 total, I’d reckon they’re taking about 25 minutes each. How far I’ve come since chopping my first ever mortises for my workbench, sitting cross-legged on the floor of my basement for hours on end. Having a bench is so nice! It’s also nice having a mortising chisel for this, my regular chisel isn’t getting so beaten up this time.

    I’ve also cut the first pair of tenons on the end of one of the 2x12s. I borrowed the layout from the breadboard end cutting board. Instead of sawing the cheeks, I only cut the shoulder lines, then dadoed almost to depth across the cheek, and split away most of the waste with a chisel. Then I planed across the grain until I got to proper thickness.

    This worked really well. Having a 1/2″ dado made splitting away the waste way easier and more controlled than just a saw kerf, and gave me a very obvious indication of proper depth. Then I just cut away the waste to either side of the tenons, leaving a 1/2″ deep haunch and it was ready for a test fit.

    #515339
    prbayliss
    Participant

    I bet your workspace smells great after your planing the cedar! I use western red cedar to make kayak paddles and it always planes so easily.

    Best regards,
    Paul

    #515437
    radar
    Participant

    Yeah, the first few days after I brought it home it filled the whole basement with that great cedar smell.

    I chopped 8 more mortises today, that makes 16 done out of 32 total.

    #516710
    radar
    Participant

    After a productive handful of days I’ve now finished chopping all 32 mortises, and a second pair of tenons. Glad to hit this milestone. It was fun but also a bit daunting to have so many large mortises to get through, but the last 20 or so only took me a little under 15 minutes each.

    Now I just need to do the rest of the tenons, make pegs and drill drawbore holes, and do a few miscellaneous things and it’ll be ready to knock together. Hoping to do that by the weekend, but we’ll just have to see how productive I am after work this week.

    #531524
    radar
    Participant

    The planter box is done! Well, I still need to make a thing to go around the top edge, but the thing is assembled, finished, lined, filled with soil, and has strawberries planted. It took a lot of fussing to finish up the joinery, drill draw-bore holes, and get everything else ready for final assembly outside.

    I didn’t have enough free space to do the full test fit in my basement, but then I realized it would fit around my bench. The picture of that also shows the pieces for the top trim thing just lying in place to get a visual preview. I think I’ll do mitered bridle joints for that.

    The picture of it half assembled shows a better view of how I did the bottom. It’s five pieces of cedar fencing laid across three 4×4 timbers, I guess one could call them sleepers. I pegged them in place so they wouldn’t wiggle about and left gaps for drainage/air circulation. I rabbeted the ends of the slats so they fit into 1/2″ channels I routed into the inside faces of either end of the bed. I also made cutouts in the side walls for them to rest on the sleepers. This may seem overly complicated, but it means the main structure of the bed is not touching the ground at all but is still well supported. I live in the rainy PNW, so I wanted to make sure it won’t just hold water and rot in the winter.

    Anyway, assembly went fairly smoothly, and tapping the pegs home was pretty damn satisfying. I put a coat of BLO on the inside of the walls. That done, we stapled weed barrier cloth to the inside to prevent direct soil/wood contact and filled it up. I coated the outside with “red cedar” colored Penofin, which we already had for protecting fence posts from the elements. It’s a bit redder than I’d like, but it worked pretty well on our fence posts so it should do nicely here.

Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.