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Garden bench design help needed

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hellobadger

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Hi everyone,

I'm planning to make a garden bench for an upcoming birthday present but have got a bit stuck. Many of the projects I've made in the past are either directly from project books/plans that I have or are based on them with minor adaptations. I've made reasonably in-depth things like beds, tables and other furniture but am struggling to find plans or even inspiration for a bench that I want to make. I want to make something quite elegant and fine and I'm trying to avoid the classic chunky park/memorial bench. I've found a few interesting benches for sale (links below) but I don't think I'm confident copying these ones and keeping structural integrity. Does anyone have an idea of where I could get some plans for a nice bench or has made one themselves where I could at least see the finished product?



Many thanks all,

Andrew
 

Cabinetman

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Hi Andrew, yes I agree stay away from the park benches, and those two you have found do have some nice sweeping curves to them, the second one is not for the faint hearted and would be difficult unless you are quite proficient, the first one is much simpler and could be relatively easily attempted, print off the side view and scale it up to full size. Quite a good beginners project really. Ian
 

johnnyb

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I'm in agreement the trombe looks OK to do. Full size of the ends. then start thinking about jointing. personally I love well made park" style "benches. especially when the comfy. with nice detailing.
 

johnnyb

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the front legs are a mitre but the back legs are jointed as I reckon he struggled to get the width in a single board. the slats are just screwed on( with decking screws) and alternate plugs and square 3/8 mortice hole.
as for joints a reinforced mitre and a good 90 degree. maybe a m and t. maybe a domino.
 

Doug71

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As said the Trombe looks a nice little project but the Tikamoon would be challenging to say the least.

Did anyone notice the prices, the easy build in Oak £1,600, the very complicated one in solid Teak £329, I'm always amazed how something like that can be produced so cheaply.
 

johnnyb

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it will be made in India and likely rough and ready. the other one will be made in the uk. the tikamoon would be tricky as a one off but much easier if your making thousands. £329 Is still cheap.
.
 

hellobadger

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Thanks everyone. Yes, I do agree that the pricing of each of these is strange!

I'm going to have a go at making some approximation of a copy of the Trombe one. That said, I'm a little surprised it doesn't have some more structural bracing and that does worry me. It seems that it's only the slats holding the whole thing together. What do you all think about that? I would have expected a free-standing skeleton with slats screwed on but it doesn’t look like that’s the case?
 

Fitzroy

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If you study the images closely I looks like the front edge slat is much deeper than the others, perhaps even the full depth of the leg, it may have a joint with the front leg, perhaps a loose tenon/domino on the end? There is also a central support linking all the slats.
 

Cabinetman

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Thanks everyone. Yes, I do agree that the pricing of each of these is strange!

I'm going to have a go at making some approximation of a copy of the Trombe one. That said, I'm a little surprised it doesn't have some more structural bracing and that does worry me. It seems that it's only the slats holding the whole thing together. What do you all think about that? I would have expected a free-standing skeleton with slats screwed on but it doesn’t look like that’s the case?
I agree and I was slightly concerned about that when I first replied but then I looked at it and feel quite probably the slats do give enough support, it’s not so different to the cast iron ended ones that you can buy anywhere and they don’t rock, it would be easy enough to put a 2or3 inch wide piece of wood going across and mortised into the two frames, I was also concerned about that joint at the top at the front, and think that that whole area could do to be thickened up a bit to give a larger glue area, I think that would be best as a m&t. Ian
 

Cabinetman

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Thanks again for your input everyone. Fitzroy, you have a good eye to spot that!
Yes he has, so I went back and had another good look at it and spotted there is a central curved support under all the slats as well, I think it’s a laminated piece, which sounds complicated but it isn’t at all really, it’s just thin strips glued together. Ian
 

TheTiddles

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Park benches are often not very comfortable, I’m guessing this is intentional as it’s not like they haven’t had long enough to work out how to make them comfortable.

I love cast iron ends, but the pricey ones. Most are municipal seating and hence again, not very comfortable, they’re also a huge cost new, however they can be picked up very cheap secondhand if you are lucky (I look every day) and then they can be blasted and painted with new wood and fittings you have something lovely and very solid for not much.
 

Jacob

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If you like that "Trombe" bench you can get a very similar shape by buying cast iron bench ends, new, or interesting reclaimed shapes.
Sounds like a shortcut but it eliminates all the probs of making the bench and keeping it in good order. They can last 100s of years
 

Jacob

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Park benches are often not very comfortable, I’m guessing this is intentional as it’s not like they haven’t had long enough to work out how to make them comfortable.

I love cast iron ends, but the pricey ones. Most are municipal seating and hence again, not very comfortable, they’re also a huge cost new, however they can be picked up very cheap secondhand if you are lucky (I look every day) and then they can be blasted and painted with new wood and fittings you have something lovely and very solid for not much.
Agree.
If you like that "Trombe" bench you can get a very similar shape by buying cast iron bench ends, new, or interesting reclaimed shapes.
Sounds like a shortcut but it makes a comfortable bench and eliminates all the probs of making it and keeping it in good order. They can last 100s of years
Loads on ebay quite cheap cast iron bench ends | eBay
 

BucksDad

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Please make sure to do a build thread. Would be great to see this WIP
 

hellobadger

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Will do. I might post some questions about the finish at some point too (maybe on a different section of the forum). I've had some unusual ideas I'd like to check with the community.
 

hellobadger

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Yeah, I'm going to go with the Trombe design. I do agree with those who suggested the cast iron ends but I think the wooden design would be appreciated by the recipient (it's going to be a birthday present). I'll post pictures when I get going with it, in the Projects forum.
 

BucksDad

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Yes wooden ends look about 100x better than the cast iron ends in my opinion
 
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