Garden bench for Father

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Project by T. D. Reid posted 06-20-2012 12:02 AM 2066 views 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A couple weeks ago my dad was telling me that he needed me to cut some new slats to replace ones that had rotted on his park bench that sets out front of the house. He needs a hip replacement (next week) and is usually in enough pain that he doesn’t sleep all night so he sits out front on the old bench until the paper is delivered. Well I have a pretty great dad, my biggest fan and I figured it was time to build him a new bench.
At one time I bought a book because it had an antique garden bench in it from Vermont that I really liked so I bought the book planing to build it one day. One day came in the way of a Father’s day this year! I wanted to build it out of Locust but my sawyer didn’t have any but recommended Red Elm for it strength, rot resistance and it turns out that it’s a really pretty wood.
Now on my blog I got a few doubts from a couple of friends about using the square cut nails. But, keep in mind that it is a antique reproduction and that is how the original was built. If you follow any of my builds in the past you know that I do a lot of research before I build and I really like to stay with the original style/design as much as possible and this time is no different.
The bench is six feet long with a 14 3/4” seat comprised of three boards clued up. It was really a straight forward build with six through tenon and six blind tenon joints in the 6/4 thick legs. I finished it off with six coats of spar varnish and a good coat of wax.
I surprised my pop by dropping it off in the middle of the night so it was there on Father’s day when he went to wait for the paper boy. He said its sits really good. Cheers!

-- Head to the shop its calling you – Todd

7 comments so far

View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 5264 days

#1 posted 06-20-2012 12:40 AM

Sweet, I like it it looks old world.

View Kelen's profile


270 posts in 3732 days

#2 posted 06-20-2012 01:17 AM

Great looking bench!

View chopnhack's profile


375 posts in 3734 days

#3 posted 06-20-2012 01:42 AM

That’s really cool and touching.. I hope his surgery goes well and speedy recovery.
The bench looks awesome! The color and grain of the wood is spectacular. The top slats look very exotic. Really well done. :-)

-- Sneaking up on the line....

View T. D. Reid's profile

T. D. Reid

275 posts in 3684 days

#4 posted 06-20-2012 02:01 AM

The good news about my pop is that they originally thought it was his back that needed surgery and he found out today that it is his hip that needs replaced. The difference between the two surgeries is about ten week’s recovery time making hip replacement sound a lot better than the original prognosis. I enjoyed working with the Red Elm and it does look very exotic for a domestic wood, it worked like Walnut but, it is stringy like Hickory and fuzzy like Sycamore.
I bought more than I needed to build this bench and I am going to build a porch swing for my house out of the wood that I have left. After that my friends it will be the end of my use of Red Elm and back to QSWO.

-- Head to the shop its calling you – Todd

View Woodenwizard's profile


1369 posts in 4383 days

#5 posted 06-20-2012 02:49 AM

Great Bench, Great Story, Great Dad, and Great Son

-- John, Colorado's (Wooden Wizard)

View bluekingfisher's profile


1333 posts in 4319 days

#6 posted 06-20-2012 07:09 AM

Well done, and thanks for letting us have a peek at it.

Good point on the nails and keeping it in line with the original design. If the nails do start to fail over time, nothing to stop you adding a couple dowels or plug and screw.

Your dad will be an even bigger fan now, if that’s possible and a great place to sit and recover form his op. Hope all goes smoothly with that.

-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 4196 days

#7 posted 06-20-2012 07:45 AM

I think your Dad is a good judge

That is a great looking bench, the light

just hits the grain and brings it out

Hip replacements are great

I’ve some friends (77 & 89) that have had it

done. One is back to gardening and the other

is one of my Jolly rouges who is building his own

swing bench in teak at the moment.


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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