A Special Garden Bench!
My motto has always been “ Anything From Wood “ and I tell my clients to find a picture of what they want and I will make it for them. My assertions were put to the test when I was shown a picture of a very unique garden bench and asked to make one like it. Of course I said “ Sure, I can do that”. Then, I started to wonder how it could be done.
The bench in the picture was made from small, naturally-edged logs, some of them curved. Not the kind of wood you can buy at Home Depot. The original was made of softwood, but I wanted hardwood logs for mine. I didn’t want to cut any living trees, because I won’t do that unless absolutely necessary. I also wanted the wood to be at least partially dry, so some of the cracking, warping, and shrinkage from drying would already be over. So, my first obstacle was where to acquire the raw materials. I found the answer right down the road.
Not far from from my shop, a landowner had logged-off 20 or 30 acres of his land a few years ago and sold the timber to a sawmill. The sawyers take all the large trees but destroy a lot of trees that are small or crooked or the wrong species. These “ trash “ trees are pushed into piles and left behind. I got permission from the owner and started searching the land. The area is too rough and hilly to drive into, so I spent a whole day finding the pieces I needed and carrying them, one at a time, to my truck. They are all hardwoods four to six inches in diameter, mostly Sourwood and Tupelo, but some I couldn’t identify. Finally I had enough logs to make a bench.
Back in the shop, I began crafting the bench, one joint at a time. The main joints are fitted and bolted and the secondary joints are round mortice and tenon. These woods are extremely hard and each joint took hours of work, but eventually the bench began to take shape. When it was finally done, I put multiple coats of outdoor finish on it then delivered it to my client.
She had a special place for the bench landscaped into her garden, so we put it there. It looks great in the garden and is placed so she can see it from her large dining room window. She is thrilled with the bench!. And so am I.