Garden Bench (Tommy Mac design)

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Project by Rich Simon posted 08-24-2016 10:09 PM 1368 views 8 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The bench really caught my eye when I saw it on the show, so I took on a winter project that bled into spring and summer. No plans were available, but Tommy's walkthrough was pretty thorough.

I’m real happy with how it turned out. Once I got the angles defined and drew out a template for the scarf joint on the cross piece, it came together pretty well. It’s all pegs, wedges and sandwich lap joints. Top is 20” deep and 4’ long.

Sapele mahogany finished with BLO and Epifanes, figure I’ll recoat periodically. Top’s nice and shiny in the sun… I hope the Epifanes lives up to its reputation for durability.

Thanks for looking.


13 comments so far

View Richard W. Hyman Jr's profile

Richard W. Hyman Jr

737 posts in 1580 days

#1 posted 08-24-2016 10:27 PM

Gorgeous bench and fantastic workmanship. Thanks for sharing the walkthrough link as well!

-- VR, Richard "Fear is nothing more than a feeling. You feel hot. You feel hungry. You feel angry. You feel afraid. Fear can never kill you"--Remo Williams

View Mean_Dean's profile


6142 posts in 3055 days

#2 posted 08-24-2016 11:51 PM

Beautiful bench! It’s simple, elegant, but with some complex joinery—a great mix!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View MadeinMT's profile


241 posts in 2068 days

#3 posted 08-25-2016 03:06 AM

This is why I check into LJ’s often. Never heard of “Epifanes” or “sandwich lap joint” and now I know what those are.

Beautiful piece. Well done.

-- Ron, Montana

View Mean_Dean's profile


6142 posts in 3055 days

#4 posted 08-25-2016 03:14 AM

By the way, I watched the video, but Tommy didn’t show how the top was attached. I would have used figure-8 rings, but I’m curious how you attached it.

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View avsmusic1's profile


205 posts in 593 days

#5 posted 08-25-2016 12:57 PM

Absolutely beautiful

Love the cross brace

View ravensrock's profile


470 posts in 1550 days

#6 posted 08-25-2016 02:11 PM

I can see why this caught your eye. You did a great job with yours. Really like the joinery and finish.

-- Dave, York, PA, Wildside Woodworking

View splintergroup's profile


1879 posts in 1130 days

#7 posted 08-25-2016 02:21 PM

I saw that episode and the joinery caught my eye, You did an excellent job! Great wood choice as well.

That crosspiece joint is some fancy woodwork.

Norm and Tommy share one trait that drives me nuts, glue squeez out! UGH!

I ‘ve had good luck with the Epifanes, but I’d suggest you place some concrete pavers or stones in the ground for the legs to sit on. The one weakness I’ve seen with all outdoor top coatings (polys and epoxies) is failures from below. Water loves to migrate up from leg bottoms and destroy the finish/wood bond.

View Rich Simon's profile

Rich Simon

25 posts in 1274 days

#8 posted 08-25-2016 02:39 PM

Thanks for all the kind words.

@Mean_Dean: Haven’t attached the top and wasn’t planning to (yet). It’s solid and I don’t think even the deer roaming my yard will care to disturb it.

@Splintergroup: Great point on the pavers. I’ve gotten into trouble like that before. I’ll grab some and see if I can lay them so they’re unobtrusive.

View helluvawreck's profile


30164 posts in 2774 days

#9 posted 08-25-2016 05:22 PM

Rich, this bench turned out so nicely.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Miccos's profile


7 posts in 550 days

#10 posted 08-25-2016 05:47 PM

Legit! ... Enough said

View LoganN's profile


409 posts in 1808 days

#11 posted 08-25-2016 07:00 PM

Looks fantastic! I’d hate to have that one outside.

View JPJ's profile


814 posts in 2528 days

#12 posted 08-27-2016 01:51 AM

Nice job!

View Gregg M.'s profile

Gregg M.

199 posts in 1590 days

#13 posted 08-29-2016 02:31 PM

Great job. Love the joinery and your execution. Wondering if epoxying the end grain with marine epoxy would prevent water wicking up from the bottom. I have tried this on some umbrella poles which sit in closed stands.

-- Marvel Woodworking, West Chester, PA -

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