Build a potting bench and add some vintage charm with upcycled chippy porch columns, reclaimed barn wood and pressed tin roof tiles.
Is anyone else ready for gardening season?
Our last freeze date on average is April 15th and I’ve been circling the garden center in anticipation!
Despite the flowers calling my name, I’ve resisted temptation knowing
how unpredictable Mother Nature can be.
After a dip into the 30s this past weekend,
the 10 day forecast looks promising and
I’m ready to get planting!
I wanted a roomy work bench for planting and projects, as well
as a place to display garden collectibles, like bird
houses and watering cans.
After spying these old porch columns and barn wood at an antique mall,
I asked my hubby if he could *pretty please* build a potting bench.
He’s not a carpenter but he’s an excellent handy man!
We cherry picked our way through the barn wood, bypassing split boards
or those that were warped or too cupped to use.
I love the character of reclaimed wood so I didn’t object to nail holes or large knots.
Given the price of lumber these days, the barn wood boards were a bargain.
We bought the longest boards available, not sure how many we might need,
thinking we could go always go back if we needed more.
Some of wider boards came with these old square nails.
We saved the ones that weren’t bent once they were removed for a future projects!
He started with pressure treated 2 x 6s and 2 x 4s to build the frames
for the bottom and the top of the potting bench.
The 2 x 6s were used for the bottom frame to anchor the 4 legs of the columns in place.
The size of the barn boards dictated the overall size of the bench,
which ended up 35 inches deep x 56 inches wide.
One of the columns was cut in half to make the front legs of the bench.
You could assemble this bench in a weekend if you have all your fasteners
(correct length screws and number of lag bolts, washers and nuts, etc).
It took longer for us than planned as we were interrupted by rain,
a debilitating high pollen count. . . *achoo*. . . and The Masters. :)
The columns were attached to the frames using 7-inch lag bolts to provide stability.
Those posts aren’t budging!
Once the frame was attached to the columns it was time to place the boards.
It took a little playing around to see where the boards worked best,
shuffling them and flipping them over to find the best sides and alignment.
The best looking boards were chosen for the top. . .
We didn’t have enough board length to span both the top and bottom horizontally,
so shorter length boards were placed so they ran vertically on the bottom.
A few of the boards had to be cut and notched to fit around the posts.
Having a jigsaw would have made cutting the boards to fit around the columns easier.
He made do with a chisel and hammer to notch out the wood after
making the cut with his circular saw.
He made a cardboard template for easier cutting.
Blocks from a 4 x 4 pressure treated wood post were cut and attached
to the bottom of the posts to protect them and raise it off the ground. . .
The blocks were also placed on concrete pavers to minimize ground contact.
We moved the bench to The Potting Shed to finish assembling.. .
it’s a beast and heavy!
Boards were attached to the back and then the top boards were screwed in place.
Oops. . .we need an adjustment and recut.
One of these things is not like the other. . . :)
The barn boards on the back weren’t perfectly flush
but I had an idea and plan to conceal that. . .
I’ve been hoarding salvage tin roof tiles that I picked up when we built the Potting Shed.
I purchased them for $1 each when we bought the rusty metal tin for the porch roof.
I wasn’t sure how I would use them at the time, but like all good hoarders, I hung on to them,
thinking at the very least they would make great bird house roofs!
Panel nails blended with the rusty patina of the roof tiles, to tack them in place.
The roof tiles were shingled along each side of the back, leaving a gap in the middle.
My vintage-inspired reliable seeds sign used to Welcome a Colorful Harvest . . .
And for a Harvest Time Garden Table . . .
Provided the backdrop!
The sign was attached between the tiles with screws.
Two lengths of wood were used like molding at the top and bottom
to eliminate the need for cutting and piecing the roof tiles along the edges,
and preventing the need for a tetanus booster!
The potting bench frame boards were faced with barn wood to blend with the rest of the bench.
l found this set of 10 x 10 cast iron shelf brackets
to support the 12-inch deep shelves. The shelves were strategically placed
so the graphics and words on the sign were still visible.
Ta-da! . .Here she is with all her chippiness, imperfections and reclaimed-materials-glory!
I plan on using a waterseal product to protect the wood and porch columns.
More photos of her styled to come!