In retrospect I should have used nine inch nails for this blog post as it would have given me plenty of opportunity to put sneaky NIN quotes & references in it – a cracking band and to tenuously link them to a blog about building a garden bench would have meant an enjoyable evening listening to their back catalogue. Alas, six inch nails it is and a nod in the direction of Johny Cash for his cover of Trent Reznors “Hurt” which has no doubt served to introduce a few more folks to Nine Inch Nails.
So, cut to the chase and back to gardening…. one important thing to remember when gardening is that you are meant to stop and enjoy efforts you have put in. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in what needs to be done that you forget to find time to stop, sit down, and relax in your surroundings. (Or in fact just chill with some tunes)
An all weather seat or bench is an ideal solution but a good one can be quite pricey and sometimes the more rustic the design, the bigger the price tag. This project is possibly one of my favourite build projects, not only is it scandalously cheap to make but any project that needs little more than a chainsaw, a hammer and a fist full 6 inch nails doesn’t imply or demand intricate DIY skills. And most of all once you have the general idea of the frame you can modify or tart it up as much as you would like
The bench frame is built from fence posts, the more rough and uneven the better (and also the cheaper) with the seat platform made from lengths of Yorkshireboard. There is the minimum amount of jointing work on the main seat supports and other than that it’s all held together with six inch nails. That may not sound like the strongest structure but it is actually very strong, and because all the wood involved is pressure treated agricultural timber, it survives the weather too. I have a number of these benches dotted around the garden and year on year I’ve done nothing to them in terms of repair or treatment. They are still as good as the day they were built, they just look a bit more weathered… but then don’t we all.
The material cost is well under £20 and it can be built in under an hour leaving plenty of time to sit down on it and enjoy a beer, providing the dog doesn’t hog the whole seat!
- 8 x 5’ 6” (2-3) fence posts, even width
Front legs – 2 x 64cm
Rear legs – 2 x 90cm
Seat support – 2 x 43cm, 2 x 114cm
Arm rests – 2 x 52cm
Back rests – 1 x 114cm, 1 x 138cm
- 6 x 56cm lengths of yorkshire board or equivalent 150mm wide plank
- 0.5 kg of 6 inch nails
- 2 inch nails (for attaching seat planks)
Using a chainsaw or bow saw, cut the all the main frame sections from the fence posts. Arrange them Ikea style!
Cut the joints for the seat supports in both the front legs and the back legs 38cms from the base of the legs. A chainsaw makes simple work of this however if you are using a bow saw then a chisel may be needed in order to remove the waste.
Build the two end sections by nailing the shorter seat supports and arm rests into place. Drill pilot holes through the first post in order to avoid the wood splitting and ensure a snug fit.
Nail the longer seat supports into place. Again drill pilot holes. The seat should now be taking shape.
Using the off cuts from the posts, saw four frame supports. These need to be at 45 degree angles in order to fit snug with the main frame.
Now drill and nail the frame supports into place on the front left and right, and on the sides at the rear. .
Attach the back support 10cms down from the top of the back legs and then nail the top rail in to place making sure its central. Thats a young New Hampshire Red pullet just in the background there
Cut the lengths ofYorkshireboard and arrange them evenly on the seat supports. This is probably the only element you need be fairly accurate with otherwise the design will go from rustic to untidy..
Using the 2 inch nails attach each of the seat boards to the front and rear seat supports. Rub down any splinters or rough cuts and stain if you want to colour the seat.
…now have a sit down.