Craftsman Experience Projects

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      • 12 1" x 6" cedar, redwood or pressure treated boards
      • 6 2" x 4" x 8" cedar, redwood or pressure treated boards
      • 1 ½", 1 5/8", 1 ¼" and 2" drywall screws
      • Floor cleats
      How to Build a Planter Bench

      Create a centerpiece for your outdoor set-up by building your own planter bench. Sipping a glass of lemonade or other refreshment on a summer's night, you'll be able to take pride in your handiwork both in the workshop and from the plants thriving in the boxes.


      Date: Oct 8, 2010


      1. Measure and cut boards for the box frame.

      Using 1x6s, measure, rip and cut three (3) 1" x 4 ¼" x 60". Using 2x4s, measure, rip and cut two (2) 1 ½" x 3 ½" x 60" and three (3) 1 ½" x 3 ½" x 9" boards. (See Fig. A, B, C)

      2. Lay out cut boards into a rectangle pattern.

      Place the two (2) 1 ½" x 3 ½" x 60" boards on edge and two of the 1 ½" x 3 ½" x 9" boards on edge to form a rectangular box.

      3. Assemble and secure the rectangle box frame.

      Put a small amount of glue in each spot where the corners of the boards touch each other. Using a screw gun, drive two (2) 1 ½" screws into each corner, one high and one low. Locate the center of the box, install the third 1 ½" x 3 ½" x 9" board using glue and screws in the same manner as the corners. Wipe excess glue with a damp cloth.

      4. Complete the bench seat.

      Evenly space three (3) 1" x 4 ½" x 60" boards on top of the completed box frame. Screw two screws into the end of each board close to the ends to catch the board in the box frame below. No glue is required. The bench seat is now complete.

      5. Measure and cut the boards.

      From 1x6s, measure and cut twelve (12) 1" x 5 ¼" x 16" and twelve (12) 1" x 5 ¼" x 18" boards. From 2x4s, measure, rip and cut eight (8) 1" x 2 ¼" x 17 ¼" and eight (8) 1" x 3 ¼" x 17 ¼" boards. (See Fig. D, E, F, G)

      6. Lay out and assemble the skid structure.

      Lay two (2) of the 1" x 2 ¼" x 17 ¼" (Fig. F) boards flat and evenly space three (3) of the 1" x 5 ¼" x 18" (Fig. D) boards on top. Make sure the edges are flush with the other two 1" x 2 ¼" boards. Screw two (2) 1 5/8" screws into the 1" x 5 ¼" boards, fastening them to the 1" x 2 ¼" boards. You"ve now formed a small skid. Repeat this step three more times to produce a total of 4 like pieces.

      7. Attach board at a right angle to the skid structures.

      Stand the skid structure upright. Place one (1) 1" x 3 ¼" x 17 ¼" board against one of the 1" x 2 ¼" boards at a 90 degree angle so that both the top and bottom are flush. Use 1 5/8" screw to screw the 1" x 3 ¼" x 17 ¼" board to the edges of each of the skid structures. Use 1 screw centered on each board.

      8. Complete the four-sided boxes.

      Stand two (2) of the skid structures upright, placing three (3) 1" x 5 ¼" x 18" boards across the inside of the structure, making these boards flush with the two sides. Even the spacing and screw one side at a time with two 1 5/8" screws per board near the corner to attach the boards together. Repeat this step to complete two (2) four-sided boxes.

      9. Measure and cut the boards. Attach floor cleats.

      Using 2x4s, measure, cut and rip four (4) 1 ½" x 1 ½" x 16" floor boards (Fig. J). Attach the floor cleat (Fig. H) to the inside of the box with 1 ¼" screws. (The floor cleat is the same length as one of the 1" x 5 ¼"x 16" boards, so attach the cleat to it on the inside of the box with four (4) evenly spaced screws.) Attaching two (2) cleats per box completes the step.

      10. Cut, miter and assemble.

      Cut eight (8) boards 21 ½" in length using a chop saw or speed square, enough for two square frames. Using a miter box mark a 45-degree as the longest point of the miter on each board. Set your angle to 45 degrees to make 8 boards. You may need to move the saw from left to right. If using a square, mark a 45-degree angle at each end with 21 ½" at the longest points. Use a biscuit/plate jointer to install a biscuit with glue to each of the eight (8) miter joints. Clamp together and set aside to dry.

      11. Complete the assembly.

      Lay the completed bench assembly top side down. Place the two box assemblies on each end. Make sure that the sides of each bench fit evenly between the boards on the boxes. You may need to turn them to find the best fit. Attach the boards inside the boxes to the ends of the bench with four (4) evenly spaced 2" screws.

      12. Install the two mitered frames.

      Turn the completed bench and box assembly upright so you can install the two mitered frames. Place the frames best side up and position them to best cover any screws that are showing. Put a bead of glue around the top of each box and one screw in the center of each mitered board. Wipe off any excess glue with a damp cloth (Fig. K).