I have been badly bitten by the DIY bug. I find myself constantly scribbling furniture plans and designs in my notebook, sometimes drawing up 4 designs in a day! After building my first garden bench (let's forget my first first garden bench that was super crap), I started drawing up plans for a larger bench with back and arm rests.
It was mainly inspired by a bench I saw being built on Better Homes and Gardens by Rob using railway sleepers BUT I could not find the plans on their website or the magazine. So I had to design it from memory.
The plans were sketchy at first...
Very very rough sketch
Then I started putting things in place:
Bench looks good against the house facing the backyard
Then full out dimensions and layout plans!
For the seat and back rest, I was thinking of using reclaimed timber. After scouring through the local salvage yard, I found that they did not have any suitable exterior timber apart from Merbau, which is beautiful, but tannin in the wood is really dark and leaches quite a bit when wet. Hmm, not too practical for seating unless I get a good seal on it. I decided to go with Spotted Gum for this project. Beautiful pattern and colour, and most importantly, all sources I've read mentioned that Spotted Gum is one of the few sustainably logged timbers in Australia.
Oh look! It's on SALE!!
All the timbers laid out in the back yard
Treated pine frames for the seat and back rest
Spotted Gum decking goes on the back rest, same method with the seat
For the main frame of the bench, I was very lucky to already have high quality hardwood, possibly red gum. Hann and I found a 4 x 3 beam about 5m long (!) above the ceiling of our house when we were replacing the insulation. It was just sitting there, not anchored to anything! Our guess is that the builders of the house some 30 years ago had left-over timber after building the roof and didn't bother bringing it back down. Hann was going to chop it up and throw it away. How absurd... NO DON'T YOU DARE THROW SUCH PRECIOUS TIMBER AWAY!!
I kept it in the shed for about a year before finally getting this project under way. So here is one side of the bench frame:
Main frame of the bench
Held together with massive galvanised screws
Progress after day 1
Aaaand ... everything magically came together minus the arm rests
View of the back
Arm rests screwed down
Sealed the bench with exterior decking oil
The overall dimensions of the bench is 1500mm long, 600mm deep, and 900mm high. It is very spacious, and I love sitting on the bench with a coffee while my bunnies are running around in the backyard. Now I just need a landscaped backyard and a veggie patch to fully enjoy the view!