Garden Bench (Tommy Mac design)

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Project by Rich Simon posted 08-24-2016 10:09 PM 842 views 7 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

716 posts in 1091 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


4932 posts in 2567 days

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

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

-- Dean

View MadeinMT's profile


181 posts in 1580 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


4932 posts in 2567 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

View avsmusic1's profile (online now)


39 posts in 105 days

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

Absolutely beautiful

Love the cross brace

View ravensrock's profile


328 posts in 1062 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


723 posts in 642 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

21 posts in 786 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


22669 posts in 2286 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 61 days

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

Legit! ... Enough said

View LoganN's profile


323 posts in 1320 days

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

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

View JPJ's profile


792 posts in 2039 days

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

Nice job!

View Gregg M.'s profile

Gregg M.

160 posts in 1101 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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