Midnight Woodworking

Woodworking

Park bench slats

I have gotten a lot of inquires from people wanting to buy replacement slats. If you would rather buy them instead of building your own, check out my friend Bryan: Atkins and Sons park bench slats. Anyone interested in building your own, please continue reading.

An old park bench

An old park bench

My parents have three park benches like this one pictured above. After 15 years or so, they have started falling apart. I made a set of replacement slats last year, for one of the benches, and I decided to make another two sets as a father’s day gift, this year.

Cutting 4' lengths

Cutting 4′ lengths

I got a pile of 2-3/8″ white oak, hardwood flooring blanks from Alex at Vintage Lumber. They were perfectly straight, and just slightly larger than I needed. I cut the 8′ long pieces down to 4′ long and ripped them down till they were about 1/16″ over sized.

Ripping down to size

Ripping down to size

Jointing the edges

Jointing the edges

I stacked them together and ran them through the planer, on edge, about six at a time. This jointed them down to size.

Planing down to size

Planing down to size

Next, I rolled them onto their faces to plane them down to the desired dimension in the other direction.

Stock all dimensioned

Stock all dimensioned

Drilling jig

Drilling jig

The last time I made these, I built a simple jig that I could clamp to my drill press. It allowed me to hold each slat centered under the drill at my desired dimension from the edge.

Setting up the wider stock

Setting up the wider stock

Follow up with a forstner bit

Follow up with a forstner bit

After I drilled the through hole on both ends of each board, I created a counter-bore with a 1/2″ forstner bit, set to drill down about 3/16″ so the screw head will be below the surface of the seat.

Counter-bored hole

Counter-bored hole

Drilling the narrower pieces

Drilling the narrower pieces

These benches have nine 2-1/8″ slats and three 1-3/8″ slats. The smaller ones go into the inside curve at the back of the bench. I made my jig wide enough that I could add a spot for the narrower boards as well. I quickly repeated the drilling process on the smaller boards as well.

All the boards drilled

All the boards drilled

Quarter round each edge

Quarter round each edge

With all the drilling done, I wanted to smooth over the corners. The original bench had a small radius on each corner so the slat didn’t have any sharp edges. I put a 3/8″ radius on my slats. I like the bigger radius. It seems to do a better job of avoiding splintering. I set the round-over bit up in my router table, and set the feather boards. I ran all four of the long sides through. there was no need to do the short sides. I want more strength near the screw holes.

All the edges rounded

All the edges rounded

When all the edges were rounded, I set up my buff sander in my drill press, and ran through any boards that needed any additional smoothing. I will leave it up to my dad to select a finish, I much prefer doing the grunt work instead…

Buff sanding

Buff sanding

18 comments on “Park bench slats

  1. Pingback: Park bench slat questions | Midnight Woodworking

  2. DOT
    July 31, 2014

    I need a set…would u make them. If so at what price?

  3. Sharon
    July 10, 2015

    I have a park bench that I’m trying to turn into a storage bench not sure how can u help with ideas

  4. Beneta Haley
    June 13, 2016

    Would you consider making us a set? If so, how much would you charge? If interested, I can send measurements and how many slats we need. We already have the replacement nuts and bolts. We just had the iron part of the bench powder coated. Thanks.

  5. Jack
    June 21, 2016

    Very nice. Thanks for the tutorial. I found that a good source of lumber can also come in the form of an old church pew. I found a 10′ white oak church pew on Craigslist for $20. The lumber has been indoors for decades and it cut nice and straight. I just need to round the edges and coat it with marine-grade protective finish before assembling everything.

  6. Lwroten
    June 21, 2016

    Fantastic, I am glad this post was useful to you.

  7. R Jackson
    August 12, 2016

    Okay. Did you make your “buffsanding” attachment ?

    • Lwroten
      August 12, 2016

      No, I picked that one up from Peachtree at the woodworking show.

  8. Agnes Tatum
    February 21, 2017

    Where might I purchase/order these?

    • Lwroten
      February 21, 2017

      I put a link in the first paragraph, of this post to my buddy Bryan’s business. He makes them and can help you out.
      http://bryan-atkins-hjih.squarespace.com/

      • dorothy rutherford
        February 23, 2017

        Thanks but no good to me in Scotia

        Get Outlook for Android

        ________________________________

  9. Edi & Reg Platt (aka Edi Worthington)
    March 6, 2017

    I just rescued a bench that was to be picked up by waist management in the morning. the 5 slats for the seat are completely rotten, but the iron is in great shape. I could send you a picture if you respond by email. It just seems sad to destroy the good with the bad. I look forward to hearing from you.

    • Lwroten
      March 6, 2017

      Absolutely you can restore it. All you need to do is replace the few rotten slats with some made from weather resistant wood.

      • Edi & Reg Platt (aka Edi Worthington)
        March 6, 2017

        Thanks, I’ll try Home Depot unless you have a better idea for me 🙂
        I live in Palm Beach County, Florida

        • Lwroten
          March 6, 2017

          I am not familiar with the area. White oak is probably the least expensive option. Mahogany, ipe, or other rot resistant hardwood. Not pressure treated wood, it would not be strong enough. Good luck.

  10. Edi & Reg Platt (aka Edi Worthington)
    March 7, 2017

    Thanks! I will be going to Home Depot today!

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This entry was posted on June 14, 2013 by in furniture and tagged , , , .

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