One of the things I thought was lacking in my garden last year was a bench to sit on when I wanted to take a break from weeding of just to sit on while admiring the plants. Now that I have a clean workshop
, crafting a bench (or two!) was first on my list.
While I made the designs of the benches different, construction was the same. The size can be adjusted to any length you need. The green bench is 48", the aqua is 35", dictated by the scrap wood I had in my stash.
I started with a piece of 1x10 cut to 35" (since my photos were done while I was making the aqua bench, I'll be referencing those dimensions, but you can make yours any length) and 2 pieces 1x6, cut to the same length. I made a cardboard template for the design on the side rail, traced it with pencil and used a skill saw to cut out the pattern. (The scalloped edge was made by marking a line 2.5" up from the bottom of the rails, dividing the width into 6" sections and using a bowl to mark the scallops.)
The legs are 1x10 pine, cut 18" for the height of the bench. The design for the legs was made by modifying the side rail template, tracing onto both pieces and cutting with the skill saw. I carefully sanded all the patterned edges, the outside edges of the side rails and the ends of the seat.
I used a Kreg jig to put the pieces of the bench together. If you don't have a Kreg, the bench can be nailed or screwed. Using the Kreg, I drilled 4 pocket holes on the edges of the underside of the seat, starting about 1.5" from the ends and approximating an equal distance between for the other 2 holes. Two pocket holes on the inside tops of each leg were also set in about 1.5" from the side edges.
Working upside down on a flat surface, the pieces were screwed together with the tops of the rail sides on the flat surface, widening the seat by 1.5". If you use a Kreg and your drill is big, you may have trouble getting the screws in at the proper angle on the second rail because the box created by the 1st rail being attached to the seat restricts the width of the area. I had a short screwdriver with a head that matches the Kreg screws so I hand-tightened the 2 inner screws on the second rail. The ends were reachable from the sides.
The placement of the legs should be no more than 6" from the ends of the seat or the bench may tip if someone sits on the end. I measured 4.5" from each seat edge, made a mark and screwed the legs in at my mark. You should take into account the pattern you have cut on your side rails and place your legs so they look deliberate with your pattern.The legs will NOT be sturdy enough to prevent racking without face nailing the rails to the legs so don't try it out just yet!.
Use an L-square to pencil mark the legs perpendicular with the seat. Face nail twice into each side to hold the legs in place and create the triangle necessary to prevent racking.
Now you have a cute little bench- easy to move around for extra seating or to decorate your garden or porch! Because I used #2 pine, there were a lot of knots. Before I primed and painted it, I applied 2 coats of BIN shellac base stain blocker to prevent the knots from bleeding through. From there, a coat of primer and a coat of paint will finish it off.
I'm really looking forward to having many benches in my garden this year!
If you're planning a garden and are starting seeds, you'll appreciate my free, downloadable Garden Diary. Get it here