Arts and Crafts Garden Bench (goes west)
It’s not often that I receive a commission for a piece of outdoor furniture, so I was quite pleased when a group of friends approached me with what I thought was a very nice idea. Seems an esteemed colleague was retiring after a long and distinguised career. Being a man of considerable energy our retiree, Carl, enjoys spending time cultivating the formal gardens surrounding his home in Walnut Creek, CA.. Following suggestions from his family, my “collective client” had decided to commemorate the occasion of Carls’ retirement with the gift of a garden bench, a perch from which he could (literally) survey the fruit of his labors. Having met Carl, however, I suspect it might well serve as a resting spot for his great grand-children after he has worn them out playing in the garden!
As the bench was bound for California, I drew design inspiration from the work of the brothers Greene and Greene, early 20th century California architects who produced what is considered to be some of the best examples of American Arts and Craft furniture. While not a reproduction piece, elements of the style are evident throughout its construction.
Being outdoor furniture , materials were chosen not only for their beauty, but for the ability to stand up to the elements. White oak was used as the primary wood. It is very tough and rot resistant, often used at the waterline in traditional wooden boat construction. Ipe’ (a tropical hardwood) was chosen for a color contrast in the back splats and its’ reputation for being practically impervious to weather. West System marine epoxy was used in the mortice and tenon joinery and the bench was finished with several coats of Deks Olje, a penetrating finish also designed for marine applications.
Carls’ Garden Bench should provide many (many) years of service. Enjoy!