How to - Projects

Easy to make garden bench

Paul Lewis
Photography by
Mark Burstyn

Make this elegant Asian-inspired bench

building the leg frame
Cut the crosspiece and legs to the desired lengths from a single, 8' length of 4" x 4" cedar. A power mitre saw is ideal, but you can also use a hand-held circular saw, provided the cuts are made straight and square. (Some building supply outlets will cut the wood for you, too.) Next, measure and mark the locations of the bolt holes on the tops of the legs and ends of the crosspiece. These are held together with one 10"-long, 1⁄2"-diameter carriage bolt at each end, with a bead of construction adhesive on each side of the joint to prevent the legs from flopping over if the bolts become loose. Countersink the heads and nuts of the bolts by drilling 1"-diameter holes 1⁄2" deep on the outside faces of the legs. Now drill 1⁄2" holes through the legs and crosspieces. Assemble the base by tapping bolts through the legs and tightening the nuts with a socket wrench.

finishing touches
Cedar will last for many years outside with no finish at all, but it will turn grey. If you prefer a brighter look, apply an exterior-rated finish. I used two coats of Sikkens Cetol 1 translucent alkyd oil finish, which I find to be the most durable. You'll want to apply several coats of concrete sealer to the slab to protect it from water and stains.

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