On our homestead, we are always looking for ways to save time and money. This project did both. Last fall I received the best gift a gardener could ever hope for, a green house. It was a 6’x8′ un-heated greenhouse from Harbor Freight. Before the snow began to fly, we built a base and assembled the greenhouse. We even made a short youtube video covering the construction.
Once it was assembled, we realized that we would need to build benches for our plants. The benches needed to be sturdy and inexpensive. We looked at many designs on the internet, but they were either made with expensive materials or looked cheaply made. We put the bench idea on the back burner for the winter.
Most homesteaders know that when a project needs to be done, you look around your property, in your sheds, garages and barns to see what materials you have. An idea struck me when I saw a pile of used 2″ x 4″s just waiting to be re-purposed for a project like this. I picked them up and brought them over to the area where I was boiling down sap to make maple syrup. Now I could kill two birds with one stone. Boiling sap can be boring, so this project was a perfect distraction. I quickly sketched up some plans and began to make sawdust.
There were only 7 of the 2″ x 4″s so to make them go further I ripped 3 of them in half to make the center slats and spacers. I made the spacers the same size as the top of the legs 1-1/2″ x 3-1/2″ so that the bench had symmetry.
I also cut the long outside boards on a 45 degree angle at the corners to give the bench a more finished look. I started putting the table together by screwing one long side and two of the short sides together at the corners using 2-1/2″ construction screws.
The next step was to begin screwing and stacking in the slats and spacers. We secured them with the same type of screw we used for the corners. We were careful to use temporary spacers in the corners where the legs would eventually go.
When all of the slats were stacked we added the last outside board to the bench.
It was then time to put the legs on. We attached each leg using 4 large lag screws. We also used a square before screwing them down to make sure they were positioned properly. These screws were also re-purposed from a prior project.
Once the legs were secured we added a small stretcher between them made out of a ripped piece of 2″ x 4″.
Finally our project was finished and we now had a nice sturdy bench to put our plants on.
The bench was made so that it would fit perfectly inside the base of the green house. We designed it this way so that we could secure it to the walls with screws to avoid tipping. It was a tight fit but it made it, just as planned!
The whole project took less than 2 hours to complete. And because we had re-purposed all of the materials, the only cost was our time and effort. The maple sap wasn’t even done boiling by the time we finished. This greenhouse bench was the perfect homestead project. It was low cost and will pay us back with all of the vegetables that it will help start. On the homestead you never know where your next inspiration will come from. Often it’s an article in a magazine, or something we see on the internet, but sometimes it’s just a simple pile of 2″ X 4″ s.