Potting Bench - Becky's

  • Advertise with us
Project by Karson posted 1153 days ago 2969 views 6 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My daughter just bought an old farmhouse and they are setting up to plant flowers and a vegetable garden.

I had some wood stacked on sawhorses in front of my shop for about 4 years and so I thought I’d build her a Potting Bench.

The wood was identified by the sawmill owner as Atlantic White Cedar. I’ve got some additional wood that looks the same and their father who was the sawmill owner called it Cedar Cypress. Cypress trees lose their leaves in winter, Cedar trees don’t and they said that this was Cypress and they kept their leaves so it was called Cedar cypress. They used it for years as shingles and barn repair wood on their and their neighbors farms. So I’ll call it something.

The wood has a cedar smell and it is quite oily, definitely an outdoor wood. I can’t believe that the scrap that I had left wouldn’t even fill a shoe box. The planks were 1X6 X 10, 1X8 X 10 and 1X4 X 10.

The bench is 47” long and 24” wide. I used 6 planks across the top 2 surfaces and they were 1 X 3 7/8 with a 1/8 gap. I used Gorilla glue to glue it together because of the wood oils and also the outdoors environment. The legs were 2X4 premium treated lumber that is treated with Thompson’s water Seal so they are light in color instead of the green tint. The legs were joined together with bead lock loose tenons at the joints. I used 1/2” tenons. They were made with beech lumber about 10 years ago. I made a bunch of different sizes and use then as needed. I used Titebond 3 for the glue on the joints of the tenons.. Each end was made with 1 – 8’ 2×4. The front was 32” and the cross pieces were 15”, The back leg was 36”. The legs were 22” across and the top is 24” On the bottom shelf the top overhangs by about 1/4” on each side on the top the overhang was 1 1/8” on each side.

The top shelf assembly is glued and screwed but it is not glued where it attaches to the bottom carcus. Just screws. So it can be taken off if desired. The upper shelf supports are offset from the lower shelf supports so that screws could be driven through the shelf into the support.

All of the top surfaces were screwed down by the use of glue strips on the brace supports underneath and then screwed up into the surface planks so there are no visible screws in the decking surface. All screws were stainless screws 2” in length.

The plugs that I used on the back to assemble the shelving were made from Spanish Cedar and were glued in place using epoxy glue. Again to get a good bond on the oily wood.

The plugs were one of those “Measure once, Cut twice” moments. I thought the screw holes were 9/16” and so I made 60 Spanish Cedar plugs in that size. While trying the first one I determined that the plugs needed to be 3/8” so I had to make another 60 plugs. The plugs are all end grain. I drilled the plugs into the end of a board held in a vise and then cut off with the bandsaw. And, then drill again. Throw away all plugs with a flat side. You know the concept of make busy work.

The boards were all ripped to size using a bandsaw with a carbide blade. The surface needed only light sanding.

The plans came from Kitchen Gardener Archive January 1998 Issue #12.

I changed the size to 48” long because my daughter wanted to use it in a small greenhouse.

Lumberjock rydonmf posted a similar one here

I hadn’t seen his until I was almost done and I went searching on LJ for potting benches.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware †

24 comments so far

View dustyal's profile


1196 posts in 2099 days

#1 posted 1153 days ago

Nice work… hmmm, she didn’t ask you for drawers to store trowels, pots, or whatever? Nice too that you just happened to have the wood laying around! ... again… !

thanks for posting.

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

View PurpLev's profile


8476 posts in 2273 days

#2 posted 1153 days ago

thats a great looking potting bench and that cedar looks amazing.

Thanks for the link to the plan – I like this design and will keep it until I can find the time/materials to make a similar one.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Dennis Fletcher's profile

Dennis Fletcher

455 posts in 1679 days

#3 posted 1153 days ago

Wow, very nice, Karson. I have been thinking of making one for my wife and I, since we both do the gardening together.

Is cedar the best wood to use? I know it was highly suggested for the raised garden box I built, so it would make sense.

--, Making design and application one. †

View CharlieM1958's profile


15683 posts in 2843 days

#4 posted 1153 days ago

Really nice job, Karson. Now you’re making me feel bad about the one I slapped together with treated pine and deck screws few months ago.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Jack Barnhill's profile

Jack Barnhill

366 posts in 1990 days

#5 posted 1153 days ago

Nice looking potting bench. Someday my wife will get one too. I know it’s somewhere on this hunny-do list.

-- Best regards, Jack -- I may not be good, but I'm slow --

View SPalm's profile


4783 posts in 2506 days

#6 posted 1153 days ago

That is a beaut.

Boy, don’t we all know about busy work. Sometimes ya just gotta.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Karson's profile


34869 posts in 3025 days

#7 posted 1153 days ago

Thanks’s guys. There are lots of plans (Pictures) of potting benches. This one seemed to me to be very functional. I wanted something with an area when the potting soil would drop through the table (Spillage).

This version seemed to fit the idea that I had quite well.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware †

View lew's profile


9990 posts in 2380 days

#8 posted 1153 days ago

Sweet Looking Bench!

I really like the “screen” idea.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7675 posts in 2676 days

#9 posted 1153 days ago

That is a very NICE potting bench!

Those sections on top… is she going to various types of potting soil in them?
... or just pots, etc.?

COOL… She will LIKE that!!

Thank you.

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

12909 posts in 2607 days

#10 posted 1153 days ago

that’s a nice project posting. Great article and photo-blog. Sounds like that is a somewhat rare type of Cyprus. Bet it was a dream to work with. Regards DAN

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View Grumpy's profile


19378 posts in 2475 days

#11 posted 1153 days ago

Nice result Karson. We have a pine down under called Cypress Pine. It doesn’t lose it’s leaves but it is more of a pine. One advantage of it is the termites don’t like it much, hence good for building.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View ShopTinker's profile


876 posts in 1393 days

#12 posted 1153 days ago

That is a very nice potting bench. Great job on your photos and description.

My wife just walked by and there for a minute I was worried she was going see it. If she had seen it, I know it would now be on her list of things that I’m requested to make for her. I think if I took a year off from work I might get through her list.

-- Dan - Valparaiso, Indiana, "A smart man changes his mind, a fool never does."

View Karson's profile


34869 posts in 3025 days

#13 posted 1153 days ago

Joe the compartments are just a place to place some of your seeds or bulbs as you are fillings the pots or trays.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware †

View Vicki's profile


935 posts in 1969 days

#14 posted 1153 days ago

Awesome bench! She’s going to really enjoy that. I like the design too.

-- Vicki on the Eastern Shore of MD

View rydonmf's profile


48 posts in 1500 days

#15 posted 1153 days ago

That looks great Karson. The shelf looks nice and sturdy. Mine has already gotten a lot of use. It has also endured a few storms and held up well. Thanks for sharing.

showing 1 through 15 of 24 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics :: gardening showcase