Mother's Day was awesome this year for my wife, Angela. Last year we put in a garden and she has wanted a potting bench. I've put it off, not on purpose but because we had other things that we were doing and trying to get done. However, this year she was out of town for Mother's Day and I thought, I should build that thing.
I quickly did a scan of materials I had on hand and made a short list of some things to get from Home Depot. I went to Home Depot and picked up the items I needed.Here is my materials list: 01: 4 - 4" by 4" Cedar Posts 02: 5 - 2" by 4" Cedar Boards 03: Old Fence Pickets (already had on hand) 04: One gallon of Hazelnut Paint 05: 2 and 1/2" bolts (already had on hand) 06: Metal decrative brackets (already had on hand)
After getting back home I got started. The first step was to paint everything. I had one post left over post from building our garden. Naturally, I used that as well. I got out the paint sprayer, got everything ready (15 min. set up time) and painted everything.
I do want the weather to effect this paint after some years, so I did not give the boards a thick coat. I did enough to cover them completely. We like aged things and doing this will give it a natural age progression after a few years.
This part of the job is a little time consuming. It is basically, spray a light coat, let dry, turn board over, repeat. It took me about 2 hours to get these done though, which isn't bad.
The next step was cutting the rear posts to length, then the front posts. I went with 5' tall for the rear posts and 3' for the front posts. We have a 6' privacy fence, so 5' sounded like a good number to go with.
Before painting the rear posts, I cut 45 degree angles on one end. I did this one each side to give the posts a little design rather than being flat. After cutting these to length, I cut the 3 and a 1/2" dado cuts for the side rails. I made these cuts about a 32nd of an inch to small, so I could get a tight fit. My dado cuts were as deep as a side rail (1 and 3/4").
My next move was assembly. I used 2 and 1/2" bolts (with washers) to assemble it. While we like weathered, aged things, I do want these rails to stay in place. This should ensure that. Like I mentioned, I cut my dados a little smaller for a tight fit. I used a small hammer to get these in place perfectly.
For appearance purposes, I cut 45 degree angles on the ends of my rails. I just try to avoid having a butt end exposed to the weather when possible. I think with outside furniture, the butt end takes on more moisture and can split faster or seperate from the piece faster.
I pre-drilled all my holes to prevent splitting. This was important because after removing the material from the dado cuts, I only had about 2" to work with. Always try a pre-drill if you can. Results are usually better in the end.
With the assembly complete, I can now staple on the pickets. However, 1st I added a 2" by 4" piece down the center of the main work surface and on the bottom surface. I did this to add support for the pickets. You can get away with not doing it but I'd just do it anyway.
These pickets are old. I picked them up from a guy who tore out the fence from a 1940's farm house. I wish there was more but I did take all he had left. I did not freshen up the paint on these. If they were new pickets, I would have painted them if they were new. These pickets are also varying widths and lengths.
My top is 2 and a 1/2' wide and these pickets are just perfect. I did leave them a little longer to give the front some personality but cutting them to exact length would be awesome as well. I did this on the bottom as well.
To attach these I used my air stapler with 1 and 1/2" staples. Since these pickets are old and cracked, I used three staples on each one. I also built a rail for the top and bottom for a back. I'm sure you can do one without a back on it but it just seemed natural to me to have a back.
I cut 1/2" dados on the rails so the pickets would sit flush. Then I added a wider picket across the top for effect.
At this point I am basically done. However, we had some decorative metal brackets laying around that my wife bought probably 20 years ago. We had six, which was just enough to add accents to it. I also got an idea to add some hooks to each side of it to hang things.
This is the finished bench. It is 4' long by 2 and 1/2' wide. There should plenty of room to work on top and for storage underneath.
Thank you for tuning in and let me know what you think in the comments section below.