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Garden Planters

Garden Planters

Nearly two years ago now I drew some plans to build these garden planters and do a guide for UKW – but they never got made – until yesterday, with the help of Tom. I’m glad we’ve finally made them! They look good, are very strong, easy to build (as long as you have a router) and the woodwork can be done in a day.

I’ve done a plan which includes a cutting list and you can download it by clicking here.


(click photo to enlarge)

Start by cutting the 45x45mm posts and rails to length. We’ve used the powered mitre saw and set up stop blocks to make the process go quicker and to make sure all the pieces are the same length. Cut the four posts to 450mm long the eight rails to 350mm.


(click photo to enlarge)

Take one of the four posts and on one face make a mark 30mm down from the top and another mark 10mm up from the bottom.

You also need to take one of the eight rail pieces and mark 10mm in from one end.


(click photo to enlarge)

Using a square and pencil continue the marks you made on the post and rail, all the way around the wood.


(click photo to enlarge)

Clamp all four posts together making sure their edges are flush with each other. Then with a square, ruler and pencil follow the 30mm & 10mm lines you marked in the step above, across the other three posts. Loosen the clamps, turn the pieces over and do the same – repeat till the two lines go all the way around all four posts.


(click photo to enlarge)

Take one of the posts and put a ruler against its edge (as shown in the picture). With a pencil, mark 16.5mm in from both sides, so that’s one mark at 16.5mm and another at 28.5mm with a 12mm gap in the middle for the tongue and groove boards. Now set your mortise gauge up to those two marks.


(click photo to enlarge)

You now want to grab the rail piece which you marked 10mm in from one end earlier and using the mortice gauge, gauge from the line, around the top and down the other side and stop at the pencil line to layout the tenon. You only have to do this on one of the rail pieces and we’ll use it to set the router table up.


(click photo to enlarge)

Insert a 12mm straight router bit into the router table. We’re using a 1/4" shank CMT cutter. Stick a couple bits of masking tape infront of the router bit. Using a pencil and a square you need to mark the two edges from where the cutter starts to where the cutter stops on the masking tape (as shown in the picture to your right).


(click photo to enlarge)

Next, using the rail piece that you’ve marked the tenon on, set the fence so the cutter is inbetween the two lines on the rail piece. Judge it by eye then use a square to check.

The final depth for the groove needs to be 11mm deep but we don’t want to cut that all in one pass so for the first pass, set the router bit height to around 5mm.


(click photo to enlarge)

The stopped grooves need to be cut now, in two sides on all four posts. By using the fence as a support and carefully lowering the piece over the router bit – making sure the layout line on the post is slightly after (to the left) of the ‘left hand’ pencil line on the router table. You need to hold the piece firmly and move it slowly using a steady & even pressure. Just before the ‘right hand’ side pencil line on the router table meets with the other layout line hold the post still against the fence and turn off the router. When the router bit stops spinning lift up the post and turn it clockwise 90°. With the post clear of the router bit, turn the router back on and cut the second groove – repeat this on the other three posts.


(click photo to enlarge)

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