A hexagon bench around a tree provides shaded seating while protecting your tree from damage. Due to compaction and erosion, soil is washed away from tree roots, leaving them vulnerable to scrapes and cuts from mower blades. A wraparound bench provides a stopping point just short of the trunk, preventing you from running your mower over exposed roots or banging into the base of the tree.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- 72 feet of 2-by-4-inch stock lumber
- Tape measure
- Carpenter's pencil
- Dust mask
- Wraparound eye protection
- Mitre fence and table saw
- 18 feet of 2-by-2-inch stock lumber
- 48 feet of 3-inch diameter round post
- Belt sander
- Coarse, medium, fine and extra fine sanding belts
- Carpenter's square
- 3-inch C-clamps
- Power drill
- 1/8-inch diameter bit, countersink bit
- 2 boxes of 3-inch long, 1/4-inch diameter wood screws
- 15 2-inch-by-2-inch-by-1-inch L-shaped metal corner braces
- Power auger
- Acrylic wood treatments
- 3 bags of gravel
- Plumb bob
- 3 bags of quick-drying cement
- 1 box of 4-inch long, 1/4-inch diameter wood screws
Measure 3 inches from the left side of the end of one 12-foot length of 2-by-4-inch stock lumber. Make a mark at that point. Measure 3 feet from that mark and make another mark. Measure 4 feet from that mark and make a third mark. These are the starting points for the mitre cuts you need to make.
Set your mitre fence to make 60-degree cuts. The exterior angles of a regular hexagon are 120 degrees. Since each exterior angle will be formed by joining two seat ends, you need 60-degree cuts . Cut the marked lumber into three sections. One piece will be 3 feet long on one side and 3 1/2 feet long on the other. The next will be 31/2 feet on one side and 4 feet on the other, and the third will be 4 feet long on one side and 4 1/2 feet long on the other. These are your templates for the remaining boards you need to cut.
Lay your template pieces, one at a time, on a 12-feet long piece of 2-by-4-inch stock lumber and mark the angled cuts onto it. Make all your remaining mitre cuts. You should now have 6 of each length of lumber, each with 60-degree mitre cuts at each end, as shown in the diagram.
Cut 18 1-foot lengths of 2-by-2-inch stock lumber for seat braces. Cut 12 4-foot lengths of 3-inch diameter round post. Sand all lumber, including posts, using coarse and medium sanding belts.
Assemble two half-hexagon bench tops as follows: Lay one each of the three lengths of 2-by-4-inch stock lumber beside each other, with the matching length sides touching. This should make a half-hexagon shape. Use a carpenter's square to mark a straight line across each end of the hexagon from the 3-feet long edge, making a 90-degree angle across the boards. Align a 1-foot long piece of 2-by-2-inch stock lumber against that line and clamp in place temporarily.
Drill three 1/8-inch diameter pilot holes along the 2-by-2-inch stock lumber, through the wood and into each of the 2-by-4-inch bench top pieces where it rests. Countersink all holes. Use 3-inch long, 1/4-inch diameter wood screws to secure the bench braces to the bench top pieces. Repeat this step to make six identical bench tops.
Attach 3 bench tops, using the L-shaped corner braces across every two bench top boards that butt together, to make two half-hexagon bench tops.
Making the Bench Top
Place the two bench tops you made in Section 1 around the tree, laying on the ground. Mark the inner and outer corner joints at all six corners with a tall stake. Use a power auger to cut two postholes, just inside the inner and outer corner markers, 1 1/2-feet deep.
Sand the two bench tops and all the posts using fine and extra fine sanding belts. Apply several coats of your choice of wood treatments, allowing to dry between coats.
Place a 3-inch diameter round post in each hole. Backfill each hole with gravel. Lay a spirit level across the two posts for each corner, with a plumb bob hanging from it. Adjust the poles until they are both plumb and level with one another. Brace them in position.
Mix quick-drying concrete according to package directions. Fill your post holes with concrete and allow it to dry for 3 to 5 days.
Lay the two half-hexagon seat tops so that the posts support the corners. Drill 4-inch deep, 1/4-inch diameter pilot holes through the bench top and into the poles. Countersink all holes. Secure using 4-inch long, 1/4-inch diameter wood screws.
Tips and warnings
- Wear goggles and a mask when sawing, drilling and sanding.
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