Garden Bench: Episode 6
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The closing stages of any project are always exciting and provide the perfect opportunity to reflect and review your actions. As Paul often quotes ‘it is not what you make, but how you make that determines the outcome,’ and that’s what’s presented in this final episode as we shape and fit the slats on the main bench, space them and fasten them in place. The bench is now ready to be placed in the garden and will be enjoyed for many years to come.
Nice build Paul well done
Just what the doctor ordered, Paul! As usual your timing is perfect – I was planning to tackle a bench on my own, but now I get to have the benefit of your guidance. Couldn’t be happier. Now that I can see how the whole thing works together, I can hardly wait to start. going wood shopping this weekend 🙂
I’ve just had a quote of £458 +VAT for the wood in kiln dried oak. Is this reasonable?
Notwithstanding timber merchants’ innate dislike of selling small quantities, it depends on the state of the wood you are buying.
Oak comes in various grades. For outdoor furniture you would not expect to use the best quality, hence the occasional shakes and knots in the stock that you saw used in the video. Perfectly sound for a garden bench, but not appropriate for indoor furniture.
Next, what you saw being used in the video was timber that is PAR (Planed All Round) and dimensioned to size, probably on a machine. In other words, prepared ready for work. If that is what is offered in the price by your supplier, then expect to pay a huge premium because of the preparation involved.
Given choice in a perfect scenario, I would select locally air-dried timber over kiln dried for outdoor items but kiln is often all that is available and may be used. It is possible to use ‘green’ (freshly cut) wood; much, much easier to work than dried stuff, but expect movement and twist as the bench dries out in the first year or so. The bonus is that you’ll have a truly ‘rustic’ piece! (Some folk will pay extra for that).
The cheapest type of Oak is always going to be Waney Edged: in other words, a complete slice side-to-side through the tree, heart-wood, sap-wood, bark and all. It’s cheapest because you cut it, re-saw it and thickness the wood yourself to the cut sizes you need – a lot of work and you need machines to do it, unless you do the lot, laboriously, by hand. Next up in cost will be sawn wood in planks, straight from the mill. This is rough finished straight from the saw and again this needs to be planed to shape, by hand or machine.
Whatever you select, remember that the price of Oak based on cubic feet or metres increases with the thickness. For example, a cubic foot of 4 x 4 inch will be much more expensive than a cubic foot of the same stuff that is 1 inch thick because of the extra time and energy involved in drying the thicker wood.
Hope that this doesn’t put you off… unfortunately, Paul Sellers doesn’t spend any time discussing the preparation of raw stock in his projects.
Perhaps a there’s a need for separate line of instruction on sourcing, and preparing wood for use……. By hand and by machine.
There is quit a bit of information on stock preparation, by hand, on this site. Look for the “Stock Preparation Techniques” video’s under “Tools and Techniques” in the video library.
This sounds right. It’s a lot of money but it is worth it.
This has been a very nice project. I’m making the first one out of pine. I’m sure I will have to keep it treated with something to make it last but I can’t wait to get it in the spot that has been chosen. I love watching Paul work and I get tickled at some of the slight comments made when he slips or makes a little boo boo. He’s worse than I am about laying tools down and not putting them back. I have to stop several times a day and put stuff back in it’s place so I have room to work. Thanks for the project Paul. I can see several variations of this around my farm soon. 🙂
Thank you, Mr. Sellers! I enjoyed learning from you and I appreciate the extra time you spent explaining why you did what you did. As always, a beautiful piece!
Is cherry or walnut a good wood for the outdoors? Would it rot easily? thanks
No, they would rot too easily, they are not a durable outdoor wood.
Please provide the dimensions and materials used for the templates shown in the video to shape the legs, arms, Etc
Paul used pine and the templates can be found on the last page of the technical drawing.
Should I surface treat oak with linseed oil, shellac, pine tar or bee’s wax for outdoor use? Or is this not necessar?
It’s all a matter of choice really. If you do really want to use an outdoor finish, I would suggest just a regular outdoor finish like yacht varnish.
Beautiful work, Paul.
Great project Paul.
It is mid winter here in the interior of Alaska, so I will probably wait a little closer to spring to start building my bench. I plan to put it out by my fire pit. I have several deck chairs around the pit, but this will handle the overflow when people bring their kids. Once the ground thaws I plan to dig a shallow pit and fill it with gravel so the bench doesn’t wick up moisture from the soil. I may build a couple more just for symmetry around the pit.
The cut list shows the slats at 2 1/2 inch, but the front slat looks wider. Is it?
Never mind on my question about the front slat. I see the added instruction – it is 4″.
A marvelous project – again. 💚💚💚
Saving up now to buy the oak to make this gorgeous bench!