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Potting Bench and Vertical Plantstand

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  • Potting Bench and Vertical Plantstand

    In the previous (Jan/Feb 2021) issue of Wood Magazine they had on the preview page a small photo of a vertical garden which would appear in the next issue.

    Vertical Garden | WOOD Magazine

    I decided I didn't want to wait for the Mar/Apr issue for the details of construction and plans so working from that one photo I built my own version of the Vertical Garden. Then I made a Potting Bench to go along with it which is something my Wife has wanted for a while now. I figured it was about time I made her one so I got to it.

    I didn't have any dimensions to work from, only that one photo, but I got pretty darn close to what they built.

    I guessed they were using cedar just from the color and grain in the photo which turned out to be correct.
    I also took a SWAG at the height, width, and depth and got darn close. Theirs is slightly larger in width and depth and my original version was too. but for economy I knocked it down by a couple inches in each direction. That let me use three fewer 8 foot 2x4s which cut about $40 off the material costs.

    I made only 6 planter boxes where they have 8. But I did that because it saved on some material (one less 5/4 x 6 x 10 foot board) and I was adding to mine a sheppards hook so two hanging baskets can be included which makes the vertical garden even taller.

    I used 5/4 x 6 cedar decking for making the boxes. The frames are made from 2x4 cedar and some miscellaneous bits are from scraps of whatever material was large enough to carve them out of. I used Titebond III and SS screws to put it all together.

    The boxes are made from resawn 5/4 decking to yield material roughly 7/16" thick. I used a large scale box style joint with only two fingers per side. These were easy to cut on the bandsaw and made assembly go very fast. The bottoms are made from strips of 5/4 deck boards that was resawn twice to yield three pieces about 1/4" thick. These are set in a 1/4" groove in the box sides. The boxes are built basically like a drawer box but the 1/4 x 2 inch slats are spaced so there will be drainage when pots are set in the boxes. You can also line the bottom with some landscape fabric and plant directly in the boxes. The fabric will retain the soil and allow for drainage. The boxes are of three different heights to add some visual interest to the overall design.

    Each corner of the base has a 3-1/2" x 3-1/2" x 1/2" thick pad which has an additional pad cut from a 3/8" thick HDPE cutting board. This keeps the wood from standing on the ground and soaking up water. It also resists abrasion when moving the planter across concrete so it will satay looking nice longer.

    If you follow the link and look at the photo of the Wood Magazine version they just nailed the slats onto the bottom of the boxes.

    My version, finished product.
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    These were taken during the build back in late March. We had a warm day so I brought them outside and got my first coat of finish on them.

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    This is the finished potting bench

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    The potting bench design was just a compilation of those I have seen for sale online and locally. What I took from them was the rough dimensions which are 36 inches high to the benchtop and 22 inches deep. I made my bench much sturdier than any of those I saw for sale. My bench is 47 inches wide which was chosen again to conserve material. If I had gone 48 inches wide then I could not get two cuts form an 8 foot board. I could have worked with 47-3/4 but why, she will never miss that 3/4 of an inch on the bench length.

    The potting bench takes one 4 foot 2x6 for the top shelf, four 8 foot 2x4s for the legs and frames of the worktop and bottom shelf, and six 5/4x6 x 10' cedar deck boards to build the slats, the worktop and bottom shelf, the hanging boxes, and smaller framing members. The potting bench also has the 3/8" HDPE foot pads (cut from an old kitchen cutting board) on the bottom of the legs to keep them from standing in water and protect the ends of the legs from splintering.

    The slats on the back are my idea. Haven't seen anyone do this on a potting bench before. Maybe it's not necessary or useful but we'll see. The top edges of the slats are cut at 45 deg. to form half of a French cleat. The boxes and shelves that hang on the slats have the mating half. This lets you move the boxes or shelves wherever you want for convenience or for better lighting if you have plants in them. The boxes can be used to hold whatever you want such as a drink, your phone, a radio, some small tools or wire ties you name it.

    Across the top is a cedar 2x6 which create another shelf space. The storage shelf below is built to support plenty of weight. I stood on it before I added the worktop and it didn't flinch. It's framed out with 5/4 x 3 with two cross braces. The shelf and worktop boards are screwed to the frame from the underside, there are no visible fasteners on either surface.

    On the fame which is made from 2x4 cedar the rails are half-lapped into the legs, glued and screwed. The stainless steel screws are countersunk and plugged with cedar plugs glued in. The slats and the top 2x6 shelf are connected to the back legs using Dominos (loose tenons) and the mortises created with the Festool Domino machine and using extra wide Dominos I made from 10mm (~3/8") thick cedar on the router table.
    Last edited by Bob D.; 08-09-2021, 04:34 AM.
    "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" ? Bob D. 2006
    "?ǝɹɐ sɹǝƃuıɟ ɹnoʎ ǝɹǝɥʍ ʍouʞ noʎ op `ʍɐs ǝlqɐʇ ɐ s,ʇı"