A potting bench, or garden table, is a useful tool for anyone who enjoys working with plants. These workstations feature a flat surface for potting or pruning plants, along with shelves or hooks to hold supplies, such as potting soil, gloves, spades, watering cans, and extra pots. The bench reduces back strain and leaves other pieces of furniture clean and free of debris. Building a basic bench with recycled wood is a simple weekend project that requires basic carpentry tools.
Gather the supplies
In order to build a potting bench, gardeners need basic carpentry tools, including a tape measure, clamps, pliers, pry bar, hammer, mitre or circular saw, drill bit, drill, and safety glasses. A table saw is helpful for making some of the cuts, but it is not necessary. In addition, gardeners need materials such as wood, M30 screws, and M65 screws.
A potting bench becomes dirty with regular use, so recycled wood is a great choice of material. Two used pallets and four to eight scrap pieces of 90 by 35 mm wood are sufficient for a potting bench. When selecting the pallets, gardeners need to look for intact pieces with the thickest wood possible.
Cut the wood
To speed the building process, gardeners should cut all the wood pieces before assembling the bench. They should start by cutting one pallet to a depth of 55 mm. There is also the option of trimming the width to fit the prospective location of the potting bench. Gardeners who prefer a rustic look can leave existing nails in the pallets, while those who want a smooth appearance can remove them with a pry bar or pliers. The next step is to cut the 90 by 35 mm wood into four pieces that are 90 cm long, then two pieces of wood into 55 mm sections, and finally five pieces of wood to match the width of the pallet.
Assemble the potting bench
Before assembling the potting bench, gardeners need to notch the pallet at the place where the legs attach. This creates a stronger joint and ensures a tight fit so the bench remains sturdy while in use.
Attach the legs
To attach the legs, gardeners must slide the wood into the notches on the pallet, move them into place, and secure them with M65 screws. At this point, gardeners need to use a level to check the slope of the bench.
Brace the legs
Adding braces around the legs gives the bench more stability. Gardeners should position the longest piece of scrap wood between the back legs of the bench so they are half way between the tabletop and the ground, and use screws to hold each end in place. They should repeat this on each side of the bench.
Add bottom shelf
To position the bottom shelf, gardeners should place the four remaining pieces of wood across the braces under the bench and secure them to the braces. If the bench feels wobbly after adding the bottom shelf, it is a good idea to add an extra brace to the back by attaching a piece of wood diagonally from one corner to the bench to the opposing brace.
Finish the potting bench
After assembling the potting bench, gardeners need to sand the wood so that paint or varnish adheres well. Paint or varnish protects the wood from the elements and makes it easier to clean. Then gardeners can add hardware, such as hooks.
Before painting the bench, gardeners must apply a coat of primer, making sure they cover every part of the wood. This offers an additional layer of protection and an even surface for paint. They then should apply one to two coats of paint over the primer.
If gardeners prefer the look of natural wood, they should cover the bench with an exterior varnish. This allows the beauty of the wood to shine through. Gardeners can apply the varnish like paint, allowing each layer to dry between coats.
How to buy garden potting bench supplies on eBay
You can find the supplies you need to build your own garden potting bench on eBay. There are also complete benches if you want a good example of a ready-made option. There is an assortment of tools and accessories available including mitre saws, screws, and safety glasses. Start your search with descriptive terms, such as "pallets" or "potting bench", and add details including the type of material or manufacturer you prefer.