When this client enquired about an oak garden bench for her mother and told me it was something that she’d always wanted, it was an irresistible build to take on. This project was started before Christmas and delayed during the freezing cold weather (glue just won’t set in deep mortise joints when it’s below freezing!). Then when it was finally ready they asked if I could delay delivery so that it could be gifted today (19th of March) as it’s Mothering Sunday.
Fortunately for projects like this, I have a trusty Ford Ranger making delivery easy, so it was off on a 50 mile drive to drop it off in person this evening.
With 70mm square legs, 50mm rails and 20mm slats, this is a bench that should last decades rather than just years, and worst case in 30 or 40 years time it will be simple to refresh simply by replacing the 5 seat slats.
With well over 30 mortices and tenons to cut, this was a project that demanded accuracy as although it’s relatively large which should usually give some wiggle room, it would be patently obvious if even one of the 10 back slats was off vertical.
Definitely not a cheap item to commission, when considering a garden bench you have to consider whether you want softwood which will in all likelihood rot within five to ten years, or to opt for a hardwood, which pushes the price up but will have a lifespan measured in decades rather than years.
The one important thing to remember never to paint an oak bench – the wood needs to breath. All this will need is to have teak oil applied once a year to keep the wood fresh, and that regardless of oiling, the bench will age within a couple of years to a beautiful silver grey.