A Bluestone + Cedar Bench:

Sometime in this line of work we find ourselves with excess or salvaged material.  When this occurs it can be a creative and interesting challenge to create something a bit outside of our usual line of work. So, after salvaging several bluestone treads from a home in Boxborough, MA, I decided to use them to make an outdoor bench.


The Plan:

The idea was to use the bluestone tread as the bench top, and cedar wood as the base.  Cedar is a naturally rot resistant wood so is ideal for outdoor furniture among other exposed wood applications (siding, fences, etc.).   Using cedar from the local lumber yard (pre-milled, standard sizes), I design the bench to have clean lines, and large sturdy legs beneath the stone.


4″ x 4″ posts being one of the cedar products available, I design the bench to make use of the hefty posts by notching a place for the stone to rest.  In this way the stone fits snugly but is secured only by gravity, much like dry-laid stone walls and patios.

Building the Bench:

After some careful planning I mill the wood and create a series of simple lap joints.  Lap joints are easy and effective, but, will require screws as opposed to some finery types of joinery that do not.

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While making legs I decide to deviate from the plan a bit so the the bench has a wider and more stable base.  I also redesign it to have slight reveals rather than having the stone and wood always lining up flush.

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Next I dry fit the pieces to make sure everything fits as it should:



Next I sand the pieces, and the bench gets glued and screwed.  I fill the screw holes with wooden dowels and sand them flat so that the screws aren’t apparent.


After the glue dries we sand again and see how the stone fits.  A bit more chiseling is necessary and the stone goes in and is looking good:


Since cedar is naturally rot resistant it can be left untreated and will turn gray over time.  However, I decide to treat it with teak oil to give it a little extra resistance, and bring out some richness in the wood:



The bench is complete and here she is at her new home.



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