Outdoor Ipe Garden Bench

  • Advertise with us
Project by FuzzyDove posted 11-27-2012 03:28 PM 5535 views 18 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My youngest son’s school recently built a chicken coop, but there was no place for the students to sit while they observed the chickens. So I designed and built this bench with a few goals in mind: 1) Use only standard decking ipe lumber which is 5.25” Wide x 3/4” thick (which I had left over from a family member’s deck project). 2) Make it super strong and durable enough to hold up to both weather elements and the abuse that naturally comes from active school children.

For added strength, I used threaded rods (see last picture) to tighten the spacers which were also Tite-bond III glued and screwed in place. The legs were made from three pieces of the decking lumber glued up and then tapered down to 2.25” at the bottom (same as thickness from the three 3/4” boards that were glued up). Hard to explain, but for the top of the legs two of the boards were longer such they they would fit and act like the spacers and in this way attach in a very strong way (thus the threaded rod goes through the top of the legs as well).

The front and back rails are glued/screwed/plugged into place to cover the threaded rods and bolts. The finish is ipe Clip Oil which really brings out the color compared to untreated (see next to last picture). The bench is six feet long and 18” high. It is VERY stout and weighs in at 86 pounds!

17 comments so far

View ward63's profile


368 posts in 4328 days

#1 posted 11-27-2012 03:50 PM

Wow! Really beautiful!!! Looks like purpleheart. Lucky school and kids!

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30646 posts in 3579 days

#2 posted 11-27-2012 04:44 PM

It should hold up against about anything they can throw at it. Bet it dulls the saw blades though.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 3417 days

#3 posted 11-27-2012 05:10 PM

I’m loving the color much.

View a1Jim's profile


118253 posts in 4818 days

#4 posted 11-27-2012 05:14 PM

Looks great ,I thought it looked like purple heart too.


View Silviu's profile


49 posts in 3806 days

#5 posted 11-27-2012 07:45 PM

Cool bench! Excellent work!

-- Silviu, Romania,

View Surfside's profile


3389 posts in 3415 days

#6 posted 11-27-2012 09:30 PM

Impressive one.

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3931 days

#7 posted 11-28-2012 02:12 AM

Beautiful and kid proof! That should last forever. “Clip Oil” was a new one to me. Is this an outdoor finish?

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Rxmpo's profile


270 posts in 4987 days

#8 posted 11-28-2012 04:20 AM

Long time no see Fuzzy! Great bench. No surprised coming out of one of my favorite shops…

View staryder's profile


174 posts in 3280 days

#9 posted 11-28-2012 12:33 PM

Very nice Im sure the kids will love it….

-- Rick.... Fort Worth, Texas

View Alan's profile


443 posts in 4645 days

#10 posted 11-28-2012 02:54 PM

Great bench. Really like how you tied in the legs.

-- Alan, Prince George

View PRGDesigns's profile


255 posts in 3554 days

#11 posted 11-29-2012 04:20 AM

Apparently, Ipe Clip Oil is about $80.00 a gallon on Amazon. It is definitely an outdoor finish for hardwood decks. Very interesting stuff. I will be curious if anyone has a long term experience with this finish and if it is worth the cost.

-- They call me Mr. Silly

View FuzzyDove's profile


64 posts in 4616 days

#12 posted 11-29-2012 11:33 AM

Yes, Clip Oil was stupid expensive and I did buy it from Amazon. On my last project with Ipe (Adirondak chairs) I used a high quality marine spar urethane which looked great when first applied. However, after only one season it has peeled/flaked making the chairs unusable until I can resand and refinish. The Ipe Clip Oil is designed specifically for ipe which simply does not absorb anything very well. I hope it works, especially for that kind of money. I’ll report back in a year. As a side note, the color of the stain in the pictures is not really accurate except maybe the second one. I don’t know why the images came out so purple but don’t think that the Clip Oil has a purple tint because it does not.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3931 days

#13 posted 11-29-2012 09:09 PM

Thanks for the reply and keep us posted on the “clip oil”.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View PRGDesigns's profile


255 posts in 3554 days

#14 posted 11-29-2012 09:22 PM

If it works, then it is worth the money. How much oil did it take for the bench? How often do you need to reapply, if ever? I used Tru Oil, which is a gunstock finish, on some custom rails in my truck I made out of Ipe. I need to reapply the finish to bring the wood back to it’s natural color after a year in constant Texas sun. After working with Ipe, if I am not mistaken, that bench should be hurricane proof and won’t walk off with any one individual. I am guessing 250-300 lbs?

I looked at your AC’s. How many pieces of Ipe blew up on you while routing?

-- They call me Mr. Silly

View Promod1385's profile


19 posts in 3315 days

#15 posted 12-01-2012 05:39 AM

I have done a couple Ipe decks for clients. Petrofin is my finish of choice for Ipe and Coumaru.

showing 1 through 15 of 17 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics