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Make a classic slat garden bench

A place to sit and relax in the garden is a must have, and this classic garden bench combines contemporary good looks with comfort. You can make the bench out of PAR pine, meranti or any hardwood of your choice. You will find a selection of PAR pine and meranti at your local Builders Warehouse.

 

This classic garden bench is made of meranti, but you can substitute with PAR pine to cut down the cost, or use hardwoods.

The project is extremely simple and owning a bench press drill allows for accuracy when drilling multiple holes. Alternative, make a jig or template that you can use.

9 of 38 x 100 x 1200mm PAR pine - seat slats
18 of 20 x 100 x 90mm PAR pine - slat spacers
4 of 100 x 100 x 460mm PAR pine - legs
2 of 10mm x 500mm threaded rod cut to length
4 of 10mm nuts and washers for threaded rod
4 of 4.5 x 50mm wood screws
Plascon Woodcare treatment of your choice to finish
TOOLS
Drill/Driver and assorted bits
Orbital sander + 120- and 240-grit sanding pads
25mm spade bit for counterbored hole
10mm wood bit
Tape measure and pencil
Varnish brush

1. Use a table saw, mitre saw or circular saw to cut four legs, nine seat boards, and 12 spacers to length. Alternatively, have all your timber cut to size at your local Builders Warehouse.

2. However, you will need to cut a tenon at the top of each leg, which can be done with a table saw or handsaw clamped to a workbench.

3. Turn the leg over to make a second shoulder cut in exactly the same way and then repeat for the other three legs. Clean up the cut with a sharp chisel.

4. Spacers are glued and nailed to six seat slats. Use exterior-grade wood glue and 50mm galvanized finishing nails. Fasten the spacer with the outer edge 100mm from each end.

5. Fasten a leg at each end of the remaining legs. Use exterior-grade wood glue and 4 of 4.5 x 50mm wood screws to attach each leg. Leave a 100mm gap away from the edges.

6. Make a mark at the centre point on the two outer seat boards for the counterbored holes, to allow for the nuts and threaded rods that hold the seat slats together. At this mark, use a 25mm spade bit to drill a 19mm deep hole. When finishing, you can cut a matching wood plug to hide the nuts on the ends of the threaded rods.

7. When drilling the 10mm-diameter holes for the threaded rods, if you don't have a drill press, make a plywood jig to use as a guide to ensure accurate placing in each piece. Hold the jig against the end of each seat slat and spacer block and then drill through.

8. Apply exterior-grade wood glue and clamp the parts together. Use an angle grinder or hacksaw to cut each threaded rod to length and file to smooth.

9. Push the rods through the drilled holes, hitting with a rubber mallet, if necessary.

10. Affix a hex nut and washer onto the end end of each rod.

11. Cut a dowel plug to finish off the front and back of the bench.

Finishing

Sand with 120- and then 240-grit sandpaper for a smooth finish. Wipe clean to remove all traces of dust before applying Plascon Woodcare to the entire project.