White Spruce Bench

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Project by Matt Snyder posted 01-22-2020 06:04 AM 648 views 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve needed a bench at my cabin on my remote Wildland Fire Initial Attack Base in McGrath, Alaska for a few years now so I have a place to hang out with friends and coworkers. This summer when I had a mandatory day off (I get one every three weeks when we’re busy) I decided to build one.

I used locally sourced white spruce (the only lumber available in bush Alaska) and drew up a quick design. I wanted a high back, wide armrests capable of holding up a beer, and a comfortable, rounded leading edge of the seat.

The first try the back was too steep and felt very much like a church pew which was not the goal. This is meant to be a relax-after-a-16-hour-shift-with-a-beer bench. I removed the backrest boards and recut the uprights to give it a more casual angle and screwed it all back together. One of the boards I got from my friend with a mill is from the center of the tree and the grain from the branches gives a nice design contrast to the rest of the plain white wood. White spruce is a very plain, soft wood. The next batch of wood I buy I’m going to sort through the stack for more of it.

The armrests are plenty wide for holding up a beer and the back is tall enough to lean your head back after a long day. It’s definitely a big man’s bench since I made the height relative to my office chair. It fits my 6’4” frame well but some shorter people end up with their feet dangling a bit.

This summer I plan on using the same design with some minor modifications to make a few chairs for around the fire pit.

-- - I learn more from my failures than my successes.

3 comments so far

View sansoo22's profile


1415 posts in 623 days

#1 posted 01-22-2020 06:44 AM

The first pic is so misleading. Its like a cute little garden bench until I see a bearded dude looking rather small in it. How much does this thing weigh? I sell some dimensional lumber chairs and benches here in the windy mid west and people like the weight cuz they wont blow away. This thing dwarfs those by a country mile.

View Matt Snyder's profile

Matt Snyder

29 posts in 722 days

#2 posted 01-22-2020 11:00 AM

White spruce is very light weight when dry. I doubt it weighs more than 100 pounds. I, perhaps selfishly, made it to for me and I’m not a small dude.

-- - I learn more from my failures than my successes.

View AJ1104's profile


1205 posts in 2627 days

#3 posted 01-24-2020 02:30 AM

Great job on your garden bench. Nice front roll proportions. It looks real comfortable.

-- AJ

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