Mark Powers uses a template to check tree bench measurements against the tree
Photo: Matthew Benson

Step 1: Create a Template

You'll make the bench from six sections of equal size. Measure the tree's diameter in inches at the seat's height (16 to 18 inches). Add 6 inches for a mature tree; add 12 inches for a young tree, to allow for growth. Divide the total by 1.75 to find the length of the short sides of the inner seat boards. Mark this length on a strip of scrap lumber or cardboard, and cut the ends at opposing 30-degree angles so that the opposite side is longer. Cut five more template pieces to size. Check for fit by joining the pieces around the tree using clamps or scrap lumber, and adjust as needed.
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    Tools List

    • miter saw
      Compound miter saw or circular saw

    • drill
      Drill/driver with a 3⁄8-inch spade bit and 3⁄32x3-inch bit

    • speed square
      Speed Square

    • adjustable clamp

    • adjustable wrench
      Adjustable wrench

    • four-foot level
      4-foot level

    • garden spade
      Garden spade

    • sandpaper
      120-grit sandpaper

    Shopping List

    strips of scrap lumber or cardboard to make a template and spacers

    ¼-inch-thick scrap lumber or shims

    5⁄4x6 decking by Kebony for the seat and stringers for the leg assemblies. Measure your tree so that you know how much to buy.

    2x6 framing by Kebony for the backrest, legs, and apron 3⁄8x4-inch galvanized carriage bolts

    3⁄8-inch galvanized locking washers

    3⁄8-inch nuts

    2-inch stainless-steel deck screws

    3-inch stainless-steel deck screws

    wood glue