Cedar Planter Box II

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Project by Gregg M. posted 11-05-2014 09:25 PM 2354 views 5 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Cedar Planter Box II
I purchased an old cedar telephone pole and had a friend mill the pole into 8/4 and 4/4 slices on his mill. Then I went about making a number of cedar planters for both personal use and to sell. The planters are made from a 50 year old cedar telephone pole that was decommissioned.

The cedar planter boxes are heavily constructed with 1¾” square legs and are made of solid cedar from a single telephone pole. The construction of the planters is made of sturdy tongue and groove joints, ship lapped planks and waterproof glue.


Wood: Cedar with Wenge pegs
Finish: Oil basecoat and Spar Urethane
Overall Dimensions: 21”W x 21”L x 22”H
Inside Dimensions: 17 ½”W x 17 ½L x 22”H

Here is a link to a video slideshow that depicts what went into making these planters. This was my second set of ” improved” planters. I was able to make 6 planters and I still have more wood from the telephone pole to make more. Link to YouTube video.

The Log


-- Marvel Woodworking, West Chester, PA -

5 comments so far

View Pdub's profile


926 posts in 3686 days

#1 posted 11-05-2014 09:41 PM

Wow! Best looking telephone pole I’ve ever seen. Great job!

-- Paul, North Dakota, USAF Ret.

View Grumpymike's profile


2425 posts in 2822 days

#2 posted 11-06-2014 07:33 PM

Beautiful Planters and well crafted, a project to be proud of for sure.

I question a couple things though. Your “Telephone Pole” in the slide show appears to be about a class 3 pole.
Telephone Cos. normally used class 6 and 7 poles, (much smaller in size).
I would think that you have an old Power pole.

In my 40 years of working in the Telecom industry, in the western US, I have never seen a cedar pole. What a rare find you have there.

Now a word of caution, Most power poles and Telco poles are treated for rot and bug resistance. I would not want to breath the dust, and burning the wood gives off toxic fumes. Be very careful of how you handle used poles.

Gregg you have a good eye for grain matching, you have artistic flow to your panels. And the Wenge pegs really WOW the piece.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View Gregg M.'s profile

Gregg M.

215 posts in 2188 days

#3 posted 11-07-2014 04:19 PM

Grumpy Mike,

You are correct. I went back to the saw mill and asked. He said the poles were power line poles and not telephone poles. The bottom of the poles had been cut off so what remained was about 17 ft of pole that was 17 inches in diameter. I understand that these cedar poles had their bottoms dipped in creosote. This was cut off prior to the milling process.

After doing some research, I don’t believe that any other chemicals were used to preserver the wood, however I can’t be sure. I’ve read that newer poles are preserved with all sots of nasty stuff. Thank you for bringing that to my attention. When milling the wood in my shop, I did not take any precautions. My ignorance.

My friend at the saw mill mentioned that he had looked into getting additional poles from the utility company. He said that they require you sign a waiver that absolves them from any liability and that you are responsible for getting ride of any hazardous waste from unused portions of the wood such as the cut-off bottoms.


-- Marvel Woodworking, West Chester, PA -

View Grumpymike's profile


2425 posts in 2822 days

#4 posted 11-08-2014 12:13 AM

Hey Gregg,
If you get a chance to look at the poles before they are cut, examine the pole about 8 feet up from the bottom and you will see the brand (AKA Bellybutton) Some are kind of hard to see with a really old pole, but in that brand is the species, year the pole was made, the maker, and in later years the treatment. If you see CCA, the pole will make a great parking stop at the end of the driveway.
The little silver tag, about 3/4” is an Osmosis tag, that’s ok, just means that they drilled the pole butt looking for rot, there will be a 1/2” dowel driven into the bore.
Oh by the way, I bought a bunch of redwood today to copy your planters … My wife really liked them.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View NormG's profile


6441 posts in 3510 days

#5 posted 11-08-2014 03:05 AM

Great way to re-purpose used wood

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

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