Thursday, May 31, 2012

Japanese Garden Bench

Finished Bench delivered to church
A client contacted me to discuss building a bench she wanted to donate to her parish for the redesigned garden area outside the church. She considered a number of designs and chose this Japanese inspired Garden Bench. The size of the bench is 24" x 66"x 33" tall and I used clear white oak. The finish is 3 coats of spar varnish.

Most of the parts were made using 6/4 and 8/4 white oak glued up to produce the finished dimensions. This is a very heavy bench.

I chose to hand cut the tenons as opposed to cutting on a bandsaw or table saw. Recall I sold the table saw prior to our move so that option was out (obviously) and I have found that it is a lot easier for me to control the cut and much more enjoyable doing them by hand. The newly built Moxon Vise with Benchcrafted Hardware really helped out here as the new bench is yet to be made.

A very rough dry fit of one of the ends. This is one of the largest, and heaviest, projects I have built in a while.

Dry fit of the base. This gave me an idea of what the overall size was going to be and figured out at this point is was time to start assembling the bench on the floor.

Starting the assembly and doing the final sizing of the back slats. Overall the are 40+ mortise and tenon joints in the bench. Not shown are the 6 seat slats which were attached with SS screws and plugs cut from white oak. The plans are from FWW and the designer is Russell Jensen.

I really enjoyed the challenge of building a this project and the church was very happy to receive it. The combination of white oak and spar varnish should help this bench serve the parishioners for many years.


  1. Wow, the finished picture looks amazing Rick. You've clearly done a fantastic job Rick; white oak is a beautiful wood


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  3. I have been looking for someone to build me this exact same bench as well. I would love to know if you would make another, or at least cut the pieces so I could put it together. Either way!!

    Please let me know.

  4. I hope you don't mind if I build one like this

  5. I am currently building this exact bench from a magazine article and not from the more detailed blueprint/plans. I have found three mistakes in these plans so far; a wrong tenon size, center seat support wrong length and height location of outer seat supports wrong. Anything else you can advise me on? Mark

  6. Hy,
    I'm from Europe. I would like to make the same bench. I have a forest where is just a oak - Quercus robur. I hope this will be good wood for outdoor - garden bench.
    Is it anywhere free plan for this banch? Joinery is just my hoby - I'm not a pro.
    thanks for your answer...


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