Cedar Wishing Well - 6 foot tall

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Project by RandyMorter posted 01-19-2011 12:08 AM 9662 views 5 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I don’t know if this qualifies for this site, it’s not really fine woodworking, but I had fun building it and it is nice in the back yard. I can delete it if it’s not appropriate – just let me know…

In October 2010 we got rid our our last Corvette which opened my garage/shop back up for woodworking after about a 5 year hiatus. This was my first project, a Cedar Wishing Well Planter.

I was looking for a project and this seemed to come out of nowhere but I like it (and more importantly, my wife liked it!).

It took about one full weekend to build, but I did it over two weekends because I was designing as I went, had to go get more wood, etc. And, after the first weekend of wearing shoes that became too small (I didn’t know it but evidently your feet sometimes get longer with age, evidently due to muscle loss that allows your arch to go flatter. At least that’s what I’ve been told. My typically sedentary lifestyle didn’t help out here!), I ended up loosing a toe nail! I’ve got new shoes now…

This is about 6 foot 2 inches tall, about 48 inches wide at the outside edge of the cap on the “well” section. The top of the well is about 32 inches tall. It’s made almost exclusively from cedar fencing – the exception being the store bought dowel for the winch and handle, and the buckets and rope.

The well is octoganal. Those are 6” (or 5 and 7/8 or whatever the fencing comes in) fence pieces, three per side, and then the 8 sides fastened together using some cross bracing as well as cut offs. The bracing idea allows me to put the posts in the “sockets” where they are held in by pressure and gravity and not actually fixed to the well.

The bracing inside the well allows me to put planters inside the well that are fairly hidden. I designed it so the bracing is 13 inches below the top of the well, allowing us to pretty much hide a 12 inch flower pot inside. We place other slats across the bracing as necessary in order to support whatever flower pots we want (as well as risers if you want a smaller pot).

The posts are 4 – 4 inch cedar fence pieces fixed together to form a hefty looking post. I cut two opposite sides so that they were at a 30 degree point to match the roof which sits on the top of the posts.

I drilled through both sides of one of the posts for the crank dowel. The other post I only drilled the one side that is on the inside of the well.

I got a 48 inch dowell (1 -1/4 diameter) and cut off about 8 inches to make the handle for the crank. The crank actuall works, and we cranked the rope onto it and hung a steel bucket (from Ace Hardware) from it. We just put another flower pot inside of the bucket rather than filling the entire bucket full of soil.

The roof was the hardest part. I used screws to hold the frame together. I pitched it at 30 degrees. I’d seen some at 45 degrees but didn’t think they looked right. The frame is covered with overlapping 6” cedar fence material. I cut little wedges for the bottom of the roof to keep the angle the same.

The roof sits on top of the two posts and basically balances on the points cut into the posts. A cross member from the roof fits on the outside of the posts and I screwed the roof into the posts at that point. Those are the only fasteners, but it allows me to pull off the roof, pull out the two posts, and move the unit in 4 pieces.

A friend of mine told me I shouldn’t finish it at all so I didn’t. I’ll see how it holds up.

All of the major construction was done using brad nails with an air nailer (which I got new for this project – you can’t do a project without designing in a need for a new tool can you?). I’d never used one of those before and I really like how fast it made the project come together. I couldn’t imaging screwing and gluing this.

-- Randy Morter, Phoenix, AZ

5 comments so far

View itsmic's profile


1419 posts in 3265 days

#1 posted 01-20-2011 06:20 PM

Nice project Randy, hey anything about or made of wood is perfect for this site, your well most defiantly qualifies, looks great, I’m sure your wife appreciates your talents and efforts, that is one of the biggest kicks about working with wood, that is, the joy it brings to all involved with it. Keep spreading the joy, thanks for sharing

-- It's Mic Keep working and sharing

View RandyMorter's profile


228 posts in 2837 days

#2 posted 01-20-2011 06:50 PM

Thanks It’s Mic!

-- Randy Morter, Phoenix, AZ

View SawdustEngineer's profile


65 posts in 2929 days

#3 posted 01-22-2011 04:45 AM

Great work. Nice design. Here is one I made for one of my wife’s friends a few years ago. Same idea.

-- Mitch, Prince George VA

View klmquiroz's profile


1 post in 600 days

#4 posted 02-27-2017 07:12 PM

love this. Did you happen to create plans for this? if so, I’d be very interested in purchasing off you to try my hand at it. Thanks

View RandyMorter's profile


228 posts in 2837 days

#5 posted 09-24-2017 04:34 PM

Hi klmquiroz – no, I didn’t create any plans for it. And unfortunately, the joinery on the base was very poor. It fell apart and my wife tossed it!

-- Randy Morter, Phoenix, AZ

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