Make a Potting Bench with Concrete Countertop and Metal Roof

Cut Lap on Legs for Post Saddle

I’ll be mounting the bench legs to concrete with adjustable galvanized saddles. With the roof and the relatively narrow width of the bench, and the persistent wind where we live, I wanted to permanently secure the bench to the ground on small concrete footings.

Make a Potting Bench with a Cast Concrete Countertop and Galvanized Corrugated Metal Roof.
chisel to smooth rough lap edges

The post saddles available in my area are for nominal 4×4’s. That is a 4×4 that actually measures three and a half inches square. I’m using legs that are true four inches by four inches. So I also need to trim down the bottoms of the legs to fit. And I’ll do that in the same way I cut the dados for the rails. It’s an extra step but doesn’t take too long.

Post Saddle Lap Cutting

Make a Potting Bench with a Cast Concrete Countertop and Galvanized Corrugated Metal Roof.
checking fit of post saddle

I’ll break (or chamfer) all sharp corners with a power plane. I do this on the legs, rails, beams, and shelves. I like the look and it prevents slivers.

Dressing with Plane and Angle Grinder

Make a Potting Bench with a Cast Concrete Countertop and Galvanized Corrugated Metal Roof.
chamfer boards with power plane

This is only needed if you are building with rough sawn materials direct from a mill.

Make a Potting Bench with a Cast Concrete Countertop and Galvanized Corrugated Metal Roof.
chamfer ends with sanding disc on angle grinder

You could get the same results with a belt or orbital sander. And maybe that would give a smoother finish to the chamfers. I just prefer the speed of the planer and angle grinder.

I have an angle grinder with a sanding disc to chamfer the ends and the profile curves. The rails extend past the legs so I’ll dress the ends of them too.

Make a Potting Bench with a Cast Concrete Countertop and Galvanized Corrugated Metal Roof.
chamfer boards with power plane

I decided to let the rails run long to create a pocket area at each end of the bench. This could be a place to add hooks to hang tools. And I like how these extended rails would keep shovels or hoes or rakes from falling over when they’re leaned against the bench.

Staining prior to Assembly

Make a Potting Bench with a Cast Concrete Countertop and Galvanized Corrugated Metal Roof.
staining boards

With most of the parts now cut and dressed I’ll roll on a coat of stain. I like to do this now before assembly. I find it  faster and easier to do this with everything laid on sawhorses. I have a one-coat Sico Stain I have been using for a few years now. I do add a second coat to the ends or to any face that is more exposed to the elements.

Make a Potting Bench with a Cast Concrete Countertop and Galvanized Corrugated Metal Roof.
staining boards

I built a simple 2×4 frame to make pouring the footings easier. And marked the centers of each square opening to help position the anchor bolts in the wet concrete later.

Potting Bench Form Frame

Make a Potting Bench with a Cast Concrete Countertop and Galvanized Corrugated Metal Roof.
carry form to garden spot

I can lay this form on the grass in the garden to mark the spots where I’ll remove the sod then dig the holes for the concrete footings. 

Make a Potting Bench with a Cast Concrete Countertop and Galvanized Corrugated Metal Roof.
roughly placing the form frame
Make a Potting Bench with a Cast Concrete Countertop and Galvanized Corrugated Metal Roof.
marking hole locations with paint

Some good old fashion manual labour here. We’ve been throwing all the sod in with our compost piles and turning them to make new soil to top up the garden beds each spring. I didn’t go very deep with the footings as we do’t usually have harsh winters with deep frost layers.

Digging the Footing Holes

Make a Potting Bench with a Cast Concrete Countertop and Galvanized Corrugated Metal Roof.
digging the footing holes

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