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TC's Yakking Benches Make Your Own Bench

Making Your Own Redgum Bench

You can be sitting and relaxing on a bench you have made for yourself in just one weekend. 

All you will need are some basic tools.   Of course the better your tool kit the easier it will be.   A drill and a saw

are the minimum you will need.

If you have a drill, a jigsaw and a sander this is a very easy project. 

Please read the whole page before you start.


Getting Started

First of all you need to get some wood. Garden centres and home hardware stores are a good place to look.

The wood selected needs to measure at or about 2400x200x50 (96x8x2 inches).  You will need a 2.4m (8ft) length of dowel too.

There are six pieces to make and 13 dowels to cut.   I reckon you should make the legs first.

bench parts

A pile of all the parts used in the bench.

Legs

You should have two lengths of timber 2400mm (8ft) long. It is IMPORTANT that you cut a piece 500mm (about 20") from

each piece to make the legs.  This will leave you two pieces slightly longer than 1800mm (6ft) which will be the maximum

length for this bench. If you have limited garden space make these shorter but not less than 1200mm.

Getting the legs right will set how level the bench will sit.  

Don't worry if they are not perfect most gardens aren't truly flat.

leg measurement drawing


Rip the short lengths along the centre line and make four identical pieces as above.  You could draw the leg full size on

a piece of cardboard or plywood to use as a template.   Don't drill the holes yet.   Save the wedge shaped off cuts for clamping.

Skirt

The skirt should be slightly shorter than the top or seat.   There is no need to shape this part at all but it will lighten

the bench and more importantly the improve appearance of the bench.  It is the backbone of the bench and a nice arch will look good.

You will find accurately drilling the holes to attach the legs to the skirt is easier if you make a simple drilling jig.

dowl jig




















By making this drilling jig you will find
it easy to align the dowel holes
attaching the legs to the skirt.


Look carefully at the drawing above for the location of the dowel holes. Drill about 45mm into the leg.

When cutting the dowel remember to add the depth of the opposing holes and thickness of the skirt less

about 5mm for clearance.   For this bench I cut the dowels at 130mm.

Making the Leg and Skirt Assembly

Before starting to put the legs and skirt together it would be a good idea to get any sanding and cleaning up done.   Use a

rasp, files and sandpaper to knock off sharp edges and add a bit of rustication.  Bash the dowels and a bit of wood glue

through the holes in the skirt.   I use Titebond Ultimate as seen in the picture.

assemble bench


Use a rubber mallet as a persuader when setting the legs. Use plenty of glue. You can see how the wedge shape offcuts

help the clamp up.   If you can't get it to align pry the assembly apart before the glue sets and find where you have gone wrong. 

On the first one of these benches I made I had drilled a hole in one of the legs a bit too shallow.  Dumb yes but easily fixed.

Leave the leg assembly clamped up overnight if you can but if you can't wait leave the clamps on for at least two hours.  


Start getting the top seat ready.   Remember that this is the bit you sit on so you need to make sure it is smooth.


assembles base     end detail on base


Top

The drawing below shows the general dimensions for the bench and also shows the positions and angles for the dowels. When the

glue dries that top is staying there. The angled dowel create a mechanical attachment.

layout picture

With the dowel positions in mind clamp the top securely to the leg assembly where you want it to be.  I cut these dowels

long so I can trim them flush after the glue has dried.  Do the ones along the centreline of the top first.  Don't forget to

angle the drill on the two at each end. The middle dowel and the two on each of the leg sets are vertical. 

top dowelled on    dowel detail

Finishing Off Your Bench

After all the glue has dried trim off the dowels and sand the top until you believe it is smooth enough

for your skin.   You can use any outdoor finish that you are happy with.   If you are leaving it exposed

to the weather regular treatment is necessary for many timbers. I used exterior polyester on this bench.  

The redgum I have used would turn grey if left to itself.


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