How To Make A Bonsai Or Plant Display Bench

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This article illustrates how I constructed my bonsai bench. Hopefully it will help give others some ideas as to how they can build a bench for their bonsai plants, potted flowers, or herb gardens.
by Maple Tree · All Zones · Gardening Projects · 0 Comments · September 21, 2016 · 4,795 views

Building Your Bonsai Or Potted Plant Bench

For those who enjoy creating bonsai plants and trees, displaying their favorite potted flowers, or growing herbs in pots, this type of display bench may be just what you need. This bench can be fun to build and extremely useful for displaying many items. It is very easy to build using only a few hand tools such as a tape measure, small carpenters square, hand saw, jig saw, drill, hammer, and screwdriver.

Bonsai bench

As it is easier to work with and less expensive, I chose to use Douglas fir and pine lumber to build the bench. Lumber type and size would be a personal preference. Hardwoods, redwood, or treated lumber may work better for those who want a more natural wood appearance, or that is more resistant to weather conditions without much finishing with sealers and other protective coatings.

The final finishing of the wood would again be left to ones liking. Using less expensive softer wood was my choice as this unit is normally protected from the weather and was going to be finished using a solid colored combination sealer/stain with a clear urethane top coat for additional protection from the elements.

The size of lumber, height, width, and depth of the bench, and the number of shelves, can be modified to meet ones needs. Because I wanted to pull the bottom shelf out at times, making it easier to load items on to and/or display taller plants, I elected not to nail or screw the bottom shelf to the bench assembly. If bottom shelf is left free to pull out, two short pieces of lumber can be cut and used as support legs, which are placed under the front edge of the shelf whenever it is left out.

In order to easily move the bench to other locations, or to clean the floor surface under the bench, I added locking caster wheels to the base of the bench unit. Two inch caster wheels were attached to a piece of lumber the unit sits on. Because my bench unit is being moved periodically, I cut holes in the caster mounting board for the bench legs to sit in. This way the casters can easily be removed by lifting the bench unit and castors pulled out from under the unit. If the caster wheels are going to be left on the bench unit permanently, caster wheels or caster support board can be permanently attached to bench legs without having to cut holes for legs to sit in.

Material List:

2 - 2"x3"x23" Kiln dried lumber - Front bench legs

4 - 2"x3"x43" Kiln dried lumber - Center and rear bench legs

3 - 2"x3"x48" Kiln dried lumber - Front and rear lower bench supports and rear center bench support

2 - 2"x3"x15" Kiln dried lumber - Upper leg supports

4 - 2"x3"x30" Kiln dried lumber - Lower and center leg supports

3 - 2"x3"x22" kiln dried lumber - Lower shelf supports

2 - 2"x3"x38" Kiln dried lumber - Rear diagonal bench braces

1 - 2"x3"x6" kiln dried lumber - Center shelf support block

2 - 2"x2"x42" kiln dried lumber - Upper and center shelf supports

2 - 2"x4"x32" kiln dried lumber - Caster support or mounting board

11 - 1"x4"x48" kiln dried lumber - Upper and center shelf planks

7 - 1"x4"x45" kiln dried lumber - Lower shelf planks

6 - 1"x4"x28" Kiln dried lumber - Center and Lower shelf plank supports

3 - 1"x4"x15" kiln dried lumber - Upper shelf plank supports

2 - 1"x2"x48" Kiln dried lumber - Upper and center shelf facing board - This board can be nailed to front edge of shelves for a more finished appearance using 1 1/2" 18-Gauge finishing nails.

1 - 1"x2"x45" kiln dried lumber - Lower shelf facing board - This board can be nailed to front edge of shelves for a more finished appearance using 1 1/2" 18-Gauge finishing nails.

6 - 2" Locking casters with swivel plate

70 - #8x2 1/2 - Exterior flat phillips head construction screws for main frame assembly

108 - #8 x 1 1/2 " - Flat phillips head wood screws for attaching shelf planks to support boards

1 - Carpenter's Exterior Wood Glue - Wood glue does not need to be used in addition to screws but will add additional strength to the completed bench bench frame and shelves. The glue will also help to bond and seal joints between wood pieces against any moisture from entering into unfinished wood.

Other Tips:

*Start building your bench by first laying out bench legs and leg support pieces on a flat surface with side assemblies opposite one another. Remember leg support pieces will be attached to legs on the inside of the legs. When sides of bench are upright the shelves will sit between the bench legs and on top of the leg support pieces.

*Use a carpenter's square making sure all pieces are square with one another before screwing together.

*Using a drill motor with Phillips head bit or power screwdriver will make installing construction screws much easier on the hands and wrists and assembly much faster.

*Drilling screw pilot holes in lumber will allow screws to be inserted more easily and keep wood from splitting.

*It is best to counter sink screw holes especially in hard wood making it easier to install screws flush with wood surfaces.

*If bottom shelf is left free to be pulled out or removed cut shelf planking 1/4" shorter than the distance between bench unit legs. This will allow shelf to be removed or pulled out without binding between the units legs.

*Leave 1/4 inch space between shelf planking for water to easily drain through shelving and not puddle keeping shelving wet.

*Cut all pieces and lay them out making sure all are accounted for and have been cut to their proper length. This can save a lot of time having not having to run back to the lumber yard or hardware store before starting and during the completion of your project.

**It is important to read entire article before starting your bench project. Noting building tips and familiarizing yourself with the assembly pictures will help make the construction of your bench much easier.

Members are encouraged to add any comments, suggestions, or tips that may help others to build their plant benches.


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