DIY Benches for Outdoor Education and Recreation Sites

Over the last few months, I’ve been collecting photographs of benches that I’ve seen at various locales around the Intermountain West.  Some have sandstone seats:

Sandstone Benches with Juniper Log Legs (Twin Rocks Cafe in Bluff UT)

Sandstone Benches with Juniper Log Legs (Twin Rocks Cafe in Bluff UT)

Sandstone Bench/Table at Newspaper Rock Petroglyph Site, Utah

Sandstone Bench/Table at Newspaper Rock Petroglyph Site, Utah

Sandstone Bench with Sandstone Legs in Mancos CO

Sandstone Bench with Sandstone Legs in Mancos CO

Benches can be made of a combination of rock and steel.

Sandstone and Steel Bench in Lions' Park in Moab

Sandstone and Steel Bench in Lions’ Park in Moab

Bench Located at a Bouldering Facility at Lions' Park in Moab

Bench Located at a Bouldering Facility at Lions’ Park in Moab

Other benches are made from logs:

Log Bench with Back (Cedar Breaks National Monument UT)

Log Bench with Back (Cedar Breaks National Monument UT)

Simple Plank on Log Bench near Island Park ID

Simple-Plank Log Bench near Island Park ID

Backless Log Bench (Grand Teton National Park)

Backless Log Bench (Grand Teton National Park)

Log Bench with Concrete Legs, Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

Log Bench with Concrete Legs, Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

Small Bench at Fort Bluff, Utah

Small Bench at Fort Bluff, Utah

While I was in the U.S. Coast Guard, my friends and I constructed benches out of surplus hatch boards which had been used to cover the holds on World War II victory ships.  One of the shipyards in Wilmington NC was dismembering the obsolete cargo ships and hatch boards were readily available.  They made excellent benches and coffee tables.  We sanded, stained, and urethaned the wood.  A local fabricator made the metal legs.   The hatch boards are identifiable by the handholds in the wood slabs.

Hatch Board Bench (Note the Handholds on Opposite Corners

Hatch Board Bench (Note the Handholds on Opposite Corners)

Two styles of metal legs have been used to support the wood slabs.

Metal Legs Are Attached to the Hatch Board to Convert It to a Bench

Metal Legs Are Attached to the Hatch Board to Convert It to a Bench

Legs to Be Use on a Douglas Fir Wood Slab

Legs to Be Used on a Douglas Fir Wood Slab

Metal Legs and Back Support for 4x4s at Upper Mesa Falls ID

Metal Legs and Back Support for 4x4s at Upper Mesa Falls ID

Wood and Metal Bench in Urubamba, Peru

Wood and Metal Bench in Urubamba, Peru

The metal legs can be either painted, powder coated, or just left to rust.  The last option can provide an interesting and appealing finish.

Attractive benches can also be made out of cinder blocks and 4x4s.  For comfort and color, you can add cushions.  You can also paint the cinder blocks.  The photograph below came from Pinterest.

Bench Made Out of Cinder Blocks and 4x4s

Bench Made Out of Cinder Blocks and 4x4s

Benches can also have shade structures, important for desert and tropical environments.

Wooden Bench with Shade Producing Roof in Mancos CO

Wooden Bench with Shade Producing Roof in Mancos CO

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One Response to DIY Benches for Outdoor Education and Recreation Sites

  1. Pingback: “Talking Circles” with Benches | Tired Road Warrior

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