Planter Bench | Popular Woodworking Magazine

We may receive a commission when you use our affiliate links. However, this does not affect our recommendations.

The planters and the bench are separate parts: arrange them as you wish.

Smell the flowers. Touch the leaves. It’s easy to enjoy the plants when they’re placed at a convenient height and even easier when you can sit right next to them. Sitting on a bench brings nature to your fingertips.

While you can make this project with red cedar planks just like they come from the lumber yard, your planter bench will last longer and look better if you grind the wood first (see “Working with Red Cedar,” below. ). The joints will certainly be stronger because the mating surfaces will be flat.

To build this project, you will need about 17 1 × 6 deck boards 12 ‘long and about four 2×4 8’ long. You will also need some deck screws No. 8 (a box of 1-1/4 ″ screws and a box of 1-5 /8 ″ screws) plus a bottle of water resistant glue suitable for outdoor projects.

Planter bench cut list

ca. Overall dimensions: 18 “H x 20” D x 8 ‘L

Section

Part

First name

Qty.

Th x W x L

planter

A

Narrow angle

8

7/8 “x 2” x 17-1 / 4 “

B.

Wide angle

8

7/8 “x 3” x 17-1 / 4 “

C.

Long panel

12

7/8 “x 5-1 / 8” x 18 “

D.

Short panel

12

7/8 “x 5-1 / 8” x 16-1 / 4 “

IS

ledger

4

7/8 “x 7/8” x 16-1 / 4 “

F.

ledger

4

7/8 “x 7/8” x 14-3 / 8 “

G.

Superior

8

7/8 “x 3” x 20-3 / 16 “

H.

Floor support

4

1-1 / 4 ″ x 1-1 / 4 ″ x 16-1 / 4 ″

J

Floor board

4

7/8 “x 5-1 / 8” x 16-3 / 16 “

bench

K.

wide leg

4

7/8 “x 3” x 16-1 / 4 “

L

narrow leg N

4

7/8 “x 2” x 16-1 / 4 “

M.

Long rail

2

1-1 / 4 ″ x 3-1 / 4 ″ x 56-1 / 4 ″

no

Short track

4

1-1 / 4 ″ x 3-1 / 4 ″ x 8-1 / 4 ″

P.

ledger

4

1-1 / 4 ″ x 1-1 / 4 ″ x 8-1 / 4 ″

Q

seat

3

7/8 ″ x 4-1 / 4 ″ x 58 ″

Fig. A) Exploded view

First cutting the planks of the lumber to approximate size (Photos 1 and 2), you should be able to mill the deck boards to 7/8 “thick and the 2×4 to 1-1/4 ″ thick. The exact thickness isn’t very important, though.

1. Tear off the deformed cards on the band saw. It is much safer than cutting them with a circular saw – there is no danger of kickback. To prevent a cupped plank from wobbling, put the concave side down.

Build the planters first. Start by making the corners (A and B). Cut the individual pieces to the exact size, then glue them together. Rout the long (C) and short (D) panels. Leave the short 1/4 ″ panels extra long. Glue and screw the long panels at the corners (Photo 3). Drill the pilot holes with a combi bit, enlarging the holes deep enough so that the screws penetrate at least 1/2 “into the panels.

2. Flatten each board on the planer, then pass it through the planer. Building outdoor furniture is much easier when working with flat stock.

Measure the total length of one of the side assemblies, then cut the short panels to a length that makes the planter exactly square. Complete the structure of the box by adding the short panels. Run the short panel screws in one corner, such as toenail on a board.

Make the master strips (E and F) and glue them to the panels. Mill the upper pieces (G). Mitrals 1/2 “longer than the total length of the sides of the box, to create a 1/4” overhang all around. Cut the cookie joints and glue the pieces together with a zip tie.

3. Pre-drill the screw holes. Once the red cedar is dry, it is very easy to split it, particularly near the end of a plank, if you don’t drill the hole first.

Sand the base of the planter and the top with 120 grit paper to make the joints flush. Screw the top to the base. Glue and screw the floor supports (H) to the base and make the floorboards (J).

Build the bench starting from the legs (K and L). Glue the pieces together. Milling the long and short rails (M and N). Cut double cookie slots at the ends of the long rails and in the legs (Photo 4). Use a 1/2 “thick board under the plate joining element to space the slots. Cut multiple double cookie slots at the ends of the short rails and inside the long rails, again using the 1/2” spacer.

4. The biscuit joints work well. These are the leg joints for the bench in this project. Once your pieces are flat and square, these joints can be made quite easily.

Glue the legs to the long rails. Reinforce these joints with screws (Fig. A). Complete the base by gluing the short rails between the long rails. Add the adjusting pieces (P) and the countersunk holes for fixing the seat. Cut out the seat boards (Q) and install them.

Before finishing, turn the bench and planters upside down and apply two or three coats of epoxy or waterproof glue to the ends of the legs and corners. Rot starts on the head grain, but sealing these surfaces slows it down.

Working with the red cedar

If you’ve ever built with red cedar, you probably know that most boards are cupped, arched, and twisted. This isn’t necessarily a problem for projects that are nailed or screwed together, such as fences and bridges. But when it comes to making outdoor furniture with glued joints, warped boards are no good. You’d better treat those boards, however smooth they may be, as if they were rough lumber.

Before you start grinding wood, check its moisture content. It shouldn’t be more than 12% -14%. At that point the wood has reached equilibrium with the average external humidity and has stopped twisting, curving and twisting. (Although it will continue to move if it dries further.)

The first step in wood milling is to cut the pieces to an approximate length. Group them into twos or threes, for example, to make two 12-inch pieces, cut a 25-inch long piece.

Tear off the pieces to the approximate width. Look at the growth rings at the end of a plank and make the cut closest to the center of the tree. This creates pieces that have the best chance of staying flat.

Flatten the pieces on a jointer and pass them through the plane. Join one edge and tear them to the exact width. Finally, cut to length.

Reinforce the glued facial joints with screws. However, the vines won’t hold up well in the head grain, so make those joints with the cookies.


Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools that we find essential in our daily shop work. We may receive a commission from sales reported by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.