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OVERVIEW

 


 

 

Skill Level & Time to Complete

 
  • Beginner -  
  • Intermediate -
  • Advanced -
  - Use only lumber rated for outdoor use



SHOPPING LIST


Materials List
 
Tools List
   Circular Saw or Table Saw
   Router
   Combination Square
   Drill/Driver
   Jig Saw
   Level
   Hammer
   Clamps
   Tape Measure
   Wood Glue
   Finish Nails
   Sandpaper
   1 1/4" Hot-Dipped Galvanized Screws
   2" Hot-Dipped Galvanized Screws
   2 1/2" Hot-Dipped Galvanized Screws
   Dust Mask
   Goggles
   Hearing Protection

 

1. See the Cut List for instructions on how to cut and shape the boards. From there, your first task is to make the side frames. Lay two side uprights parallel, with the notches facing away from each other. Lay a top upright connector across the uprights. The top edge of the connector should be flush with the bottom of the notch, and the ends of the connector should be flush with the outside edges of the uprights. Attach the pieces with 2-1/2 in. screws. Attach the second top upright connector to the second set of uprights in the same manner. The connectors are on the inside face of each upright.
2. Measure and mark 2 3/4 in. in from each end of one of the lower upright connectors and draw a seat contour on it that connects the marks. Use a jigsaw or band saw to cut along the contour line. The contour's exact shape is your choice. Use the connector as a pattern to mark the remaining lower upright connector and the center seat supports. Face-clamp the pieces together and gang-sand them so their contours match. Mark each piece so you know fronts and backs.
3. Position a side assembly on your workbench with the top upright connector facing up. Measure up from the bottom and mark each upright at 18 in. Square the lower upright connector to each upright, and secure a lower upright connector to the side assembly with 2 in. screws. The top of the connector should be even with the mark on each upright and the connectors ends should be flush with the outside edge of each upright. Make the second side frame to match the first. The connectors are located on the inside faces of the side frames.
4. Secure the upper side frame connectors to the side frames with 2 1/2 in. screws. The connectors fit into the notches you cut in the uprights. Ensure that the ends of the connectors are flush with the outside faces of the side frames. Click here for a cutting diagram of the upper side frame connectors. If you don't want a decorative top, use 2x4s cut to 47 in. to connect the side frames.
5. Now secure the seat rails to the side frames with 2 1/2 in. screws. The seat rail tops should be flush with the tops of the lower upright connectors. The ends of the seat rails should be flush with the outside faces of the uprights. Square the assembly. Drive 2 in. screws through the angled braces into the inside faces of the seat rails, and through the uprights into the angled brace ends.

 

6. Measure in 17 1/4 in. from the ends of each seat rail and mark the inside face of the rail. Screw and glue each of the four 3-in. long 3/4x3/4 in. support blocks flush with the bottoms of the rails centered on the 17 1/4 in. marks. Cut a 3/4x3/4 in. notch in the bottom of each end of each center seat support. Position the center seat supports centered on the 17 1/4" marks. Bore countersink holes in the front and back seat rails centered on the 17 1/4 in. marks and secure the center seat supports with glue and screws. The center seat rails should rest on the 3-in. long 3/4x3/4 in. support blocks.
7. To install the seat slats, start by using a router and a 1/4 in. roundover bit to round over the 1-1/2 in. and 3-1/2 in. seat slats. Notch and position the front 3 1/2 in. slat on the bench so it overhangs the front seat rail by 3/8 in. Secure the slat with finish nails and glue.
8. Now lay a piece of 1x4 on edge so its back face abuts the front edge of each back upright. This is a spacer. Position a 1-1/2 in. slat so its back edge abuts the front face of the spacer. Secure the second slat with finish nails and glue. Remove the spacer. Install the rest of the 1-1/2 in. slats equally spaced to fill in the area between the front 3-1/2 in. slat and the rear 1-1/2 in. slat.
9. Rout or cut a 1/4 in. wide by 3/4 in. deep groove centered on one edge of the backrest top rail. Use a router and a 1/4 in. roundover bit to round over the rail's edge on the opposite edge from the groove. The edge with the groove is the bottom and the rounded edge is the top. Position the rail so the top corner is 17-1/2 in. up from the top of the back seat rail and 5/8 in. in from the back edge of the back uprights, and the bottom corner is 1 1/8 in. in from the back edge of the back uprights. Bore countersink holes in the back uprights so you can drive 2-1/2 in. screws into the ends of the rail. Now secure the rail in place with screws and glue.
10. Mill 3/4 in. long by 1/4 in. thick tenons into one end of each backrest slat. The tenoned end of the slat is the top. Use a router and a 1/4 inch roundover bit to round over the edges of the 1-1/2 in. backrest slats. Then place a slat at each end of the top rail 1 1/2 in. in from the end of the rail. Secure the slats by gluing the tenons into the rail's groove and driving 4d finish nails through the slat into the rear 1-1/2 in. seat slat. Then install the remaining slats, evenly spaced across the backrest.

 

11. Position the back 3-1/2 in. seat slat in place so its front edge abuts the back faces of the backrest slats. Secure the slat in place with finish nails and glue. Install the backrest stiffener behind the slats halfway up the backrest. Then drive 2-1/2 in. screws through the back uprights into the ends of the stiffener.
12. Use finish nails and glue to fasten 12 vine ladder pieces to the outside of each side frame. Space the pieces evenly for the entire length of the side frame. Then fasten the remaining vine ladder pieces to the upper side frame connectors in the same way.
13. Once the bench is built, finish it as you like or leave it uncoated and allow it to weather to a beautiful silver-gray. Add climbing plants to make your arbor bench a seat that becomes part of the landscape.

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