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Designing unique outdoor Red Cedar benches

Here is the finished design, but there was some angst in the process between concept and final product. This picture of Barry is taken in Barry Ohs' garage/workshop just prior to bench delivery.

Arm waving, verbal descriptions, wood and cardboard models went along with this concept picture. Two 5' long benches to be made of Red Cedar. Tall back.

Lovely wood. Lovely seat. So so arms. Too much like a Colonial settle or church pew for the otherwise lovely tall back. I asked if Barry could make the back with three pieces of cedar, splayed and with burnt pine plank slabs? Could live edge cedar go on top of the arms?

This is where I charred the rough pine boards using my flared (good for BBQ meat) propane torch. It is on metal risers to not burn the lawn or patio. Both sides and both edges were blackened. A wire brush and rags removed most of the soot. Barry used linseed oil to finish the process. This is called Shou Sugi Ban and is easily found on YouTube videos. I was told I smelled more of pine sap than smoke when I finished. It took about 25 mins to complete a 10' long 1" x 6" rough pine board.

As you can see in the final pictures of these benches (below) that they fit all the design criteria:

Beautiful - Red Cedar is an attractive wood.

Unique - Barry and Alison designed this bench. It is not a copy of anything either of us have seen before.

Functional - as seating and screening.

Sturdy - and heavy.

Stable - buttresses at back make tipping over unlikely.

Well sited - level and with good views of Center Park when seated.

Expensive - Materials, design time, construction, delivery all were expensive, so a big thank you to the Carlisle Cultural Council for the Outdoor Benching event, Friends of Center Park and of course local carpenter Barry Ohs all who helped underwrite this project.

This is the view from one of the Cedar benches. If it looks this good in April, it will look even better later in the season when things leaf out more.

Now all we need to do is add some wood chips to the area around the two benches.

Project complete!


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