In this instructible i'm going to walk you through making this really nice looking log bench made of garden timbers or landscaping timber, whatever you want to call them. So before we get started here is the supplies list:
you'll need twelve 8 foot garden timbers ( I found mine at home depo. and lowes)
10x3 1/2in. wood screws (I found at lowes)
stain and finish brush
seven 3/8in. dowels
Wood Glue (I used Titebond)
A Miter saw or table saw (You could use a hand saw, but thats a lot of work)
pilot hole drill bit and a 3/8in. drill bit
A level (I just did it by eye)
a staple gun or staple nails
a hand sander with 50, 80, 100, 220, 320, and 400 grit sand paper
plants and soil
and some heavy duty gardening plastic or weed barrier plastic
That should just about do it, be careful when cutting and screwing the wood, garden timbers are notorious for splitting
Step 1: Sanding and Cutting
Now before you start cutting the wood the best thing to do is to sand the timbers before cutting them, then after you cut them go back and sand off the rough edges, You don't need to sand all the way up to 400, just sand to 80 then once its all assembled you can go to 400..
sadly I did not get pictures of the wood pile after I cut and sanded them
Once you're done sanding the timbers go ahead and cut them to size, here is the cut list:
2: 83-1/2in. pieces full length on top
24: 12-1/2in. pieces box sides
20: 18in. pieces box sides
3: 48in. pieces seat pieces
2: 15-1/2in. pieces seat support
8: 4in. Feet
assuming you used 8 foot timbers you should only have to cut 11 of the timbers, the last one is for the planter and feet and in case something goes wrong.
once everything is cut, go back and sand the edges that were cut.
'once everything is assembled you will need to measure the inside of the planter box to know how what to cut the last timber to for the bottom of the planter that the dirt will sit on.'
Step 2: Drilling, Screwing, and Gluing
Once everything is cut and sanded its time to drill, screw, and glue everything together.
Take two of the 12-1/2in. pieces and one of the 18in. pieces and stand the two pieces on their ends and lay the 18in. piece on top of the two, line the ends up as best you can and drill two pilot holes on each end then take a 3/8in. drill bit and bore out the hole half way down, this will allow the screw to bite into the wood underneath it, before you put in the screws put wood glue on the pieces of wood that are touching, once the holes are drilled and the wood glue is in place, take the wood screws and screw them in, try your best to make sure the screws are going in straight, when both sides are screwed in flip the entire thing upside down and take another 18in. piece and do the same thing you did on the other side, then repeat with the others until all but 4 of the 12 1/2in. pieces of timbers remain, these will be added later
once all the planter layers are made, lay the layers on top of each other 5 layers high, drill and screw them together, now you have planters
Step 3: Assembling the Bench
Once the planters are assembled take one of the "83 1/2in." pieces and lay it across the back end of both of the planters, this will be the back of the bench, once the piece is lined up on the back of the planters, drill the pilot holes, two on both sides of the piece, then take the "3/8in." piece and drill half way in then screw down both sides
once thats screwed down take the 2 "15 1/2in." timber pieces ant place them on the outside lip of the planter for the seat support drill and screw it down
and once thats done take the three "48in." pieces and two of the "12 1/2in." pieces line them up in the center of the "12 1/2in." piece and drill and screw them together, two screws per timber on each side, this will make the primary seat of the bench.
once thats done, put the main seat between the two planters and take the other "83 1/2in." piece and lay it along the front of the two planters and take the other two "12 1/2in." timber and place it on the outside edge of the planter, then drill and screw everything in place, now screw all the the wood on top down.
that should be it for the actual assembly, now you need to see how deep you want to make your planter, I made mine three timbers deep from the top, that is deep enough to take half a 40lbs bag of soil, once you know how deep you want your planter to be, measure the width of the inside of the planter and cut a timber to that size, to install it just make a pocket hole with either a pocket hole jig or by drilling into the wood at an angle, once thats drilled, just place it inside the planter on one side then screw it in, then cut another piece and place it on the other side of the planter and screw it in there, then do the same with the other planter, that will make the bottom of the planter.
Once all thats done flip the bench upside down and screw in the "4in." feet, if this makes the bench too tall, you can skip this step
Now when everything screwed down and you can sit on the bench, its time to fill the holes with the dowel wood, count all the drill holes you have and take the dowel and cut "3in. to 4in." pieces to fill all the drill holes, when all the dowel wood pieces you need are cut you need to put wood glue in the hole before you put the dowel in, then just repeat with all the other holes
That should be it for the assembly
Step 4: Staining and Finishing
once everything is screwed down and all the holes are filled with the dowel pieces, its time to stain the bench, I used Early American 230 stain, and a synthetic finishing brush, just go over the entire outside of the bench withe the stain of your choice, try to not stain the inside of the planters, this will help that plants grow, then wait around 24hr. before putting the finish on
Once the stain is dry, wipe down the outside of the bench then add the finish, I used polyurethane, but there are more choices for finishing, the poly I used is a one cote polyurethane, but I ended up using 3 cotes, the polyurethane is to make the wood water proof, this will make the wood last longer, you can cote the inside of the planters if you want, but I would not recommend growing food in them if you do, because the poly may leech into the soil and poison the food on the plant, so its up to you if you want to cote the inside or not
now the staining and finishing is done
Step 5: Stapling and Filling
Once the polyurethane has dried you can staple the weed barrier or plastic bedding in the planters, just stretch the bedding over the planter and line the inside of the planter with the bedding, then take the stapler and secure the inside of the planter and liner with staples or nail staples with a hammer.
Then take the plants out of there pots and place them in the planter and pour the soil in, once everything is in place, level the soil and your done
Step 6: You're Done!!
Now you just need to place the bench somewhere nice, I would recommend placing the bench somewhere in the shade to reduce the chance of bleaching the wood.
Now you have a bench, yaaay
I hope you had fun making this, I know I did, if you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments
Thanks for reading.
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