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Cedar planter from offcuts

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AndyT

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I was pleased to see recently that some neighbours were having a new fence installed and that it was a very smart job from cedar. The professional landscapers made a neat and tidy job of it, but ended up with a pile of offcuts of PAR cedar, about 19 x 62mm and a metre or so long.

Being a helpful sort of chap, I offered to save them the trouble of loading the bits into their truck and disposing of them and they accepted my offer. :)

Here's my little haul, alongside some odd bits of oak that I already had.



Time to make a nice planter for the garden. I thought it could be an enjoyable project - although I wanted it to look neat, there was no need to work to exact measurements. A few months in the sun, snow and rain should make it all look uniformly rustic.

I planed most of the pieces with tongues and grooves. (There are lots of ways to do this - I chose to mostly use a Stanley 48, and wrote this thread about it, for anyone wanting more old tools details. )

I sketched out a design on a bit of paper and set to work. I planned a simple box with vertical slats, five to each side. For cutting them to length my 1970s Burgess bandsaw was ideal - enough room for an 11" piece and a clean square cut.



At the corners, I ripped four pieces down narrower and glued them to make an L-shape. The tongues and grooves go all the same way, around the square. I glued the T&G together. I know this sounds unconventional, but there is nothing substantial constraining the box, so the whole thing can just stretch or shrink as it pleases.

This shows two sides with corners on, glued up. When they were done, I filled in between them to make the other two sides.



This shows the main box, with a rim of thin pieces of cedar nailed on at the top.



I wanted a rim round the top and wanted it to have mitred corners like a picture frame. Just mitres would not be strong enough out in the weather, so I decided to use this project to have a go at lapped mitre joints.
I'd not made any before, so I watched one of Mitch Peacock's excellent videos and made a practice one.
(Mitch Peacock doesn't seem to get mentioned much on here, but I like his clear, flannel-free presentation. He's done lots of useful tutorials on joints and is currently completing a really nice £20 bench from scavenged materials. His channel is at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHNLNi ... ew7OskHdtw and his video on lap mitres is here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgQC1NY_TaY .)

Here's my practice joint, worth making just to learn which bits to remove.




Here are the bits for the frame. First shot shows the length being marked off on all four at once, which in theory means that they all come out the same length. (In practice, it's good enough for garden work, and everyone prefers big droopy plants. )





As this was new to me, I chose to cut near the lines and pare back afterwards.



This sort of worked but it took ages and the joints were still a bit gappy. On reflection I think I should have just gone for a fit straight from the saw.

When the glue was dry on the top rim I planed a chamfer all round and fitted it to the top of the box with thin screws in larger holes. I made four feet with a similar chamfer on and screwed them on to the bottom edge of the box. The inside has some loose slats with gaps in between for water to drain through. I used oak for these slats, which rest on a pair of battens. There's a fabric liner which should help with drainage.

And here's the finished thing, ready for spring planting. Total materials cost, a few pence for some screws. :wink:

 

Bm101

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Very smart Andy. What a good neighbour to have. :wink:
 

AndyT

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People often ask about finishes for outdoor items and get told that most woods just go grey naturally. That's certainly true with this cedar. After two and a bit years outdoors in all weathers it has discoloured gracefully but is holding together just fine. It looks like this at present.


planter1.jpg


The mitres are no worse than when they were cut:

planter2.jpg


Maybe the plant will start growing again soon!
 

sammy.se

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thanks for the update - great work.

I was thinking that pegs would hold the mitres tight, but seeing the 'two years later' picture just shows that pegs aren't necessary and may even introduce water ingress points.
 
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