Make a Concrete Garden Bench

Strip the concrete legs from the forms

After an hour of this, the concrete can be removed from the forms. It was the end of the day so I covered the forms with plastic and left them overnight.
Now for what I think is the best part of all of this: stripping the forms to reveal the casting.

stripping the forms from the concrete casting
Stripping forms

I wasn’t sure how well the split bolt block would work or if it would be difficult to remove but it went just fine.

stripping the forms from the concrete casting
The base is freed from the casting

The newly cast legs should now be at around half their full strength. They will reach their full strength if you keep wet to cure for four weeks. For this project I’m not going to worry about that here and I’m going to build the bench right away.

tape added to the exposed bolts for safety
Painters tape applied to exposed bolts for safety

Make the bench seat

For safety, I put a few wraps of tape around the exposed bolts while I was handling the leg castings.

cutting the red cedar slats to make the seat of the outdoor concrete garden bench
Cutting cedar seat planks to length

I used a small block of concrete from a previous pour to round off any sharp corners on the casting while it was still relatively soft.
I’ll make the seat for the bench from red cedar 2×6’s. I’ll cut them to length on the mitre saw then lay out the hole locations on each end.

Laying out the Parts

laying out the hole locations on the bench seat slats
Marking hole locations in seat planks

I’ll use the drill guide to first counterbore for the nut and washers, then drill through for the bolt.

using a drill guide
Counterbore seat planks

I use a square as a gauge to get a consistent bore depth.

using a drill guide
Using a drill guide ant forstner bit

The stretcher is made from a 2×4. I had some cedar 2×6 left from the seat planks so I ripped it down on the table saw.

using a drill press for this step
Drilling stretcher

I lay out and mark the location for the holes on each end and drill them from both sides with a forstner bit. I drilled a pilot hole first to help guide the larger bit. And this worked pretty well.
To make drilling into end grain for the stretcher bolt easier I first make a drill guide from a scrap piece of 2×2.

a DIY drill guide to help drilling into the end of the spreader
Drilling into end grain of stretcher with a drill guide

Then I clamp the stretcher and guide to my bench.

seat slat ready for finishing
Stretcher holes intersect

The drill will follow the guide and give a centered and true hole.
I’ll attach ties under the seat to connect the planks and prevent any side to side racking .

seat slats will be held together with cross members underneath the bench
Seat ties

These are made from a 1×4. And they have a 45 degree bevel on each end. I’ll drill pilot holes now to make assembly of the bench easier.
I sand the ends of the planks to round over the corners. And sand off any rough spots on the other parts.

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top