Introduction: Redwood Rock Planters

I made the first of these small succulent planters with some leftover redwood from a deck railing but they've turned into craft fair gold and I even have some local flower stores carrying them now.  I hope you have fun making some of your own but if you live in the bay area please don't show up in a stall next to me at the next Renegade fair selling these! 

The process is pretty simple.  It's just some 2x4 redwood glued up and carved down on the bandsaw.  One thing I will mention up front is that you have to free cut these on the bandsaw with your hands pretty close to the blade so if you're not comfortable with using one you may want to get used to using the tool first. 

You will need:
-  (2) 24" long sections of 2x4 redwood.  I actually like to pick out the ones with knots and different color to them that most people discard as these give each planter an individual look. 
- Drill with a 2-1/4" diameter forstner bit and a 1/4" bit
- Bandsaw
- 80 and 150 grit sandpaper
- Wipe on polyurethane

Step 1: Glue, Drill, Cut, and Drill One More Time

The first step is to glue up the two 24" long sections of redwood.  Give them a good clamping and let them dry overnight. 

Next you need to drill out the plant pockets.  The 2-1/4" diameter forstner bit is the perfect size to accommodate the 1..25 quart succulents that you can pick up at your local box store for about $2.  You need to drill 6 pockets in the 24" long section.  Start the first hole 2" in from the end and space the rest 4" apart.  Be careful not to drill all the way through! 

On to the bandsaw.  Slowly start to whiddle off little chucks at a time.  I like to start by shaving the bottom then working on the top and sides.  Don't try to take off too much material in each pass as it increases the chances of your blade binding and also helps you keep an eye out that you don't cut through into your plant pocket.  Please keep two hands on the piece at all times when cutting, I only show one hand in my picture because I had to hold my phone. 

Once you have your pieces cut down drill a 1/4" hole through the bottom for drainage.

Step 2: Sand and Finish

On to everybody's least favorite part of any project, sanding.  I do these by hand but if you have access to a nice bench belt sander you can go that route as well.  Hit them first with some 80 grit and then move on to 150.  You can go smoother if you like but I like the look of leaving some of the band saw marks showing so I stop at 150. 

For finishing I give them 2 coats of wipe on polyurethane.  I use the satin as the gloss finish kind of takes away from the rock look. 

Step 3: Other Options

I did a set of these for a small kitchen windowsill herb garden.  I made one side really flat and added 3 coarts of chalkboard paint so that I can label them as to which herb was in each.  You can feel free to add any color you'd like.  You can also make these out of a nice hardwood but you'll have to be sure to sand and seal the inside of the planter pocket well.  I use the redwood due to it's natural resistance to water damage so I don't pay too much attention to the inside. 

Thanks for looking and hope you enjoy!

Comments

author
zposner (author)2016-12-10

This would be agreat entry in the indoor gardening contest, to bad you can't enter.

author
jmc75 (author)zposner2016-12-10

Did i miss it? Oh well, my fault for not keeping up on the contests. Thanks for looking!

author
DarrenG3 (author)2015-08-15

hello has any one made these in any other wood ? great idea by the way

author
jmc75 (author)DarrenG32015-08-15

Thanks Darren, I used redwood because of it's inherent decay resistance. I'm sure you could use and other wood but you would have to seal at least the inside face.

author
DarrenG3 (author)jmc752015-08-15

A havnt had no expirience on anything like this could you give me some example of sealing the wood what methods and products . Thanks

author
Hardwired22 (author)2014-02-03

COOL!

author
ardnon (author)2014-01-12

really really nice, ever try a bigger size? like for a 6" or 8" pot?

author
jmc75 (author)ardnon2014-01-12

Ardnon,

Actually working on it. The limiting factor is the throat height on the band saw. The small one in my garage maxes out at about 5" but my plan is to substitute the bandsaw with a long blade on my Sawzall.

author
SW123MAN (author)2014-01-10

How much are these going for?also couldyou coat the inside with a rubberized spray to protect the plant?

author
jmc75 (author)SW123MAN2014-01-10

$16, see link to etsy store listing in comment below.
I don't see why you can't rubberize the inside but the 2 coats of poly seem to work fine.

author
dpg350 (author)2014-01-10

Nice job, I've done the same for my succulents with the left over pallet blocks that are used between the thin long boards.

author
Okispider (author)2014-01-09

very nice!

author
hehinckley (author)2014-01-09

Great idea! What do they sell for?

author
jmc75 (author)hehinckley2014-01-09

$16

https://www.etsy.com/listing/83838488/redwood-rock-planter?

author
LongToe (author)2014-01-09

Great job! Does the glue need to be waterproof or water resistant? Would 4x4s work as well?

author
jmc75 (author)LongToe2014-01-09

LongToe,
I use Titebond II which is water resistant. I don't see why a 4x4 wouldn't work, I like the contrasting grains/colors you get from two 2x4's though.

author
jmc75 (author)2014-01-06

MimArt,
Just a follow up. I contacted a flower store up in Seattle that has been buying these from me for about a year. The owner said she took 2 of these home from the first batch I sent her over a year ago and the plants inside are doing fine and she said no customer has ever brought one back.
Daoud,
Always happy to talk shop. I checked out your blog. I like the way you just dive right in to projects. Invest in a router, I can't believe you chiseled out those long trenches in that stump!

author
DaoudNaouri (author)2014-01-06

Great job. We should collaborate/exchange ideas. Fellow NorCal member here. Cheers.

author
MimArt (author)2014-01-06

What is the longest time you've had a live plant in the redwood planters? I always thought redwood gave off toxins to plants unless it was a container with LOTS of dirt (that's also why redwood trees don't always have a lot of other plants growing under them or near them because of their toxins even in the tree parts that are shed).. If the hole is drilled down to the glue layer, can the glue affect the plants as well? Do the pots start getting that silver furry splinter look (and we all have had redwood splinters, haven't we??)? These are great looking and I love that you use old decking material - redwood is a beautiful material and even if it isn't good deck wood anymore, you've found a way to prolong its usefulness - thank you!

author
jmc75 (author)MimArt2014-01-06

MimArt,
Thanks for the info, I was unaware of the potential redwood toxicity. I've had a plant in the one on my kitchen windowsill for over a year and it's still alive (which is saying a lot as I have a history of killing plants). The inside of the plant pocket does get the 2 coats of poly which probably helps prevent any of the toxic leeching. The planters do get a little darker over time but do not get that redwood grey look due to the poly.

author
amalkhan (author)2014-01-06

spectacular. simple but amazing

author
bto4 (author)2014-01-06

so cute

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Bio: My small garage business, 265 design, is the creative outlet for all things produced in one small garage studio/workshop located in Northern California.
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