Looking to accessorise your garden with something useful and unique? We can help with these DIY project instructions for an unusual outdoor bench.
A rustic garden bench makes a beautiful and inviting sight in any garden – even more so if it’s a one-off piece that you’ve designed and made yourself. You can make your own garden bench as a DIY project that takes just a few steps and less than a day to build. Before you start, you need the right wood and your chainsaw at the ready.
We’ve used pine for our DIY outdoor bench; larch is also highly weatherproof and ideal for garden DIY projects, and we also recommend ash or beech. When deciding what wood to use, you need to consider the different characteristics and your own needs. Coniferous woods like pine and spruce harden quickly in summer heat, and pine, in particular, can absorb a lot of moisture, so you need to treat it to protect it against weathering and decay.
Whatever you choose, a good rule of thumb to remember is that the drier the wood, the better suited it is for building with, as there is less risk of cracking. You can keep your DIY bench looking great with the right care, such as applying oil regularly.
With pine garden furniture, you need to regularly apply protective oil or varnishes. You should also treat the wood before assembling the individual parts for complete protection and a simpler initial process.
Use a specific pine cleaner if your bench gets dirty. Smaller marks or rough areas can be sorted out with sandpaper.
Natural oils and wood waxes are ideal for treating ash. Because ash is very hard, you need to repeatedly apply oil to it at 30 to 40-minute intervals until it is saturated. Once the wood stops absorbing oil, it is well protected, and the surface of your garden bench will dry to an elegant lustre.
Beech is nice to work with, but it absorbs a lot of moisture, so you need to protect it appropriately. For a quick clean, all it needs is wiping with a soft, dry cloth; if it’s a bit dirtier, use a clean damp cloth with no detergent.
Tackling garden DIY projects with powerful tools is fun as long as you have effective and safe protective clothing while using them. Always wear personal protective equipment when working with your chainsaw. This includes a helmet, cut protection trousers, safety boots, and more. The operating manual for your product contains more details on this. Fully familiarise yourself with your chainsaw before you use it for the first time, and check it's in flawless condition before each use. On request, your STIHL dealer will be happy to prepare your tool for its first use and will also advise you on models and sizes of protective clothing that you can try. Please remember that personal protective equipment is no substitute for safe working techniques.
Using the right tool makes crafting, building and DIY even more fun. We recommend the following chainsaws for your indoor and outdoor wood projects.
Now you’re ready to start making your rustic outdoor bench. The DIY garden seating needs to be solid and sturdy, so we recommend you build it on-site, at the spot you plan to keep it. Before you start your chainsaw, make sure you have enough space to work and that your working area and surroundings are safe.
First, secure the largest log so that it doesn’t roll away; you can use wooden wedges for this. In the next step, you will be splitting the log along its length, and one half will form the seat of your bench.
STIHL professional tip: It’s always good DIY practice to mark where you plan to cut the wood beforehand.
When working with your chainsaw, there is a risk of kickback, pull-in and recoil. These forces can be dangerous, so you need to try to prevent them if possible. You can find all the important information about reaction forces and how to avoid them in the operating instructions for your STIHL chainsaw.
Split the wood in two stages to avoid damaging your chainsaw and for a better result: first cut vertically along the mark to a depth of about halfway through the log. Turn the log over and complete the split by cutting through from the other side.