Want to build a 2-legged bench (sunken 4x4's w/ a 4x6 top, w/ perpendicular 2x8's), unsure if safe..

SU2

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#1
I'm really on the fence about building this thing... I was very inspired by c54fun's (can you tag users on this board?) benches & monkey-poles that he posted mid-page here: https://www.bonsainut.com/threads/s...-so-you-can-get-more-vegetative-growth.29236/

My problem is, I'm afraid that what I intend to build won't be sufficiently stable with the weight of the wood + trees, am here hoping for opinions to confirm/deny my fear!

The idea is to use (2) 4x4"s for the legs of the stand, each sunken in-ground as deep as the pole-hole cutters let me get (around 3' I think?), back-filled with rocks and tamped-down. These 4x4's would be placed 4' apart. I'd then place the 8' long 4x6" on top of the two 4x4's, and screw it down into them, leaving me with a long 8' bar upon two 4x4 posts (with the 4x6" being around 3' tall / off the ground) I'd then cut (12) 2'-long sections of 2x8 and fix them perpendicular to the 4x6, so I'd end up with an 8' long, 2' wide 'table top', each of the 2x8's across the top will have (3) screws into the 4x6 so should be solid as far as lateral pressures, my concern is with the structure itself, if (2) 4x4's is enough to be solid with all this (at ~3' depth, w/o concrete footing), the total weight is the trees on it, an 8' 4x6, and 24' total of 2x6"...

Maybe I'm worrying for nothing, would just like some opinions on whether this is a solid build or not! Would be using 3-4" decking screws probably #6 or #8, drill pilot holes/properly level/etc (ie it's not the first thing I've built ;P )

Here's the entirety of it except a 4x4 (one 4x4 is on the left, the 2x8's for the (12) slats that'd make the top are on the right, that's all the lumber only a little of those 2x8's will be excess/unused)

19700116_191406.jpg

I'd originally planned to paint this, and my two benches, all the same color - have since learned of a 'burnishing' technique that may see me pressure-washing and then burnishing the wood with a torch, still need to learn how far propane goes when used that way, my trials weren't very efficient!
 

Bonsai Nut

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#2
@SU2 I think you would be better off with (2) 2 x 6 x 8' as your cross members between your two 4 x 4's. Like this:

bonsai stand.jpg

If you sink those 4 x 4's three feet into the ground and back fill them, they aren't going anywhere. Just use treated lumber so they don't rot... If you find that it still moves too much for your liking, you can always brace the legs at the ground level.
 
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Vin

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#4
@SU2 I think you would be better off with (2) 2 x 6 x 8' as your cross members between your two 4 x 4's. Like this:

View attachment 163714

If you sink those 4 x 4's three feet into the ground and back fill them, they aren't going anywhere. Just use treated lumber so they don't rot... If you find that it still moves too much for your liking, you can always brace the legs at the ground level.
My thoughts exactly. Another option would be to ad a 4 x 4 to each end near the outer edges.

DSCF2430.JPG

DSCF2431.JPG

DSCF2458.JPG
 
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#5
I'd originally planned to paint this, and my two benches, all the same color - have since learned of a 'burnishing' technique that may see me pressure-washing and then burnishing the wood with a torch, still need to learn how far propane goes when used that way, my trials weren't very efficient!
This technique is called Shou sugi ban. It is typically done on western red cedar, or Japanese cedar. What type of torch are you using? I would recommend a weed burner type torch with at least a 20 lb tank. It will go quickly that way, and the larger tank size won't ice up as fast as a smaller one. After burning it, you should coat the wood with linseed oil.
 
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#6
@SU2 I think you would be better off with (2) 2 x 6 x 8' as your cross members between your two 4 x 4's. Like this:

View attachment 163714

If you sink those 4 x 4's three feet into the ground and back fill them, they aren't going anywhere. Just use treated lumber so they don't rot... If you find that it still moves too much for your liking, you can always brace the legs at the ground level.
Cool design. If I knew I was staying put for a good long time, I think I would build a few of those.
 

SU2

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#7
@SU2 I think you would be better off with (2) 2 x 6 x 8' as your cross members between your two 4 x 4's. Like this:

View attachment 163714

If you sink those 4 x 4's three feet into the ground and back fill them, they aren't going anywhere. Just use treated lumber so they don't rot... If you find that it still moves too much for your liking, you can always brace the legs at the ground level.
I really like that build, in fact it's identical to one someone linked me from another board (a youtube video of someone making one of those), unfortunately this is going to be a 'what's on-hand' project, have too much lumber to make-use of!

Am going to do 3' and back-fill with some rocks in there, I figure I can stress-test it after and, if it's not to my liking, I'll take it out and backfill with concrete!

(thanks for the help on tagging people btw!)

This technique is called Shou sugi ban. It is typically done on western red cedar, or Japanese cedar. What type of torch are you using? I would recommend a weed burner type torch with at least a 20 lb tank. It will go quickly that way, and the larger tank size won't ice up as fast as a smaller one. After burning it, you should coat the wood with linseed oil.
Yeah I'd gotten paint but am now wanting to do this, unfortunately I did a section with my blue propane can-torch (the ubiquitous, ~1' tall can with brass nozzle) and with how small a tip the fire is it took a lot of gas just to finish a small section, if I'm to do >20' linear of benches that could add-up to a lot of propane!!
 

SU2

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#8
Cool design. If I knew I was staying put for a good long time, I think I would build a few of those.
If you had a set of post-hole diggers, it's actually quite a portable setup! I could just remove the top-boards that block where the 4x4's mate to the 4x6, the top's 8' long and each 4x4" is ~6' long, so it's simple enough to tie that to the roof and transport, then just two quick holes at the new place! There's something good about mobile tables/benches though, I like having both, and now with 3 tables I can finally set most of my trees out in a 'normal' fashion!
 
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#9
I do these individual stands and small tables that after they have set in and the grass grows up around they look like posts. And they are extremely stable - I live in florida and have left all of my trees out on the stands during the last two major hurricanes and nothing moves. This way I can move anything around at any time.


20170919_175346.jpg 20170911_164616.jpg
 
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#10
Mine are just like the ones Vin pictured. They've only been in two -three months, but are holding up well. I only sunk the posts 24" but really tamped the dirt down around them. They don't move. Biggest trees go right over the posts.
 

SU2

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#11
I do these individual stands and small tables that after they have set in and the grass grows up around they look like posts. And they are extremely stable - I live in florida and have left all of my trees out on the stands during the last two major hurricanes and nothing moves. This way I can move anything around at any time.


View attachment 164396 View attachment 164397
Gorgeous trees & display man, very well done! What are you using to cut the wood at an angle like that?(the wood that makes the horizontal 'top' scaffolding for the horizontal slats that are the 'tabletop') I see the edges cut at that upward angle on yours and other's in this thread and really like it, am so new to powertools that I'm not sure what you'd use for that (circular saw and VERY careful marking is all I could do with my gear! I doubt I'll be able to build anything like that soon though, have too-many 4x4"s sitting around now that I've gotta put to use!!)
 

SU2

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#12
Mine are just like the ones Vin pictured. They've only been in two -three months, but are holding up well. I only sunk the posts 24" but really tamped the dirt down around them. They don't move. Biggest trees go right over the posts.
I did around 30" iirc, it was so strong I could hardly wiggle it when walking the 4x6 beam (before placing the horizontal 'table-top' boards), but just to be safe I've done the same have incredibly heavy specimen near the posts, a ~30-40lbs crepe on one and ~50lbs+ bougie on the other!
 
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#13
Gorgeous trees & display man, very well done! What are you using to cut the wood at an angle like that?(the wood that makes the horizontal 'top' scaffolding for the horizontal slats that are the 'tabletop') I see the edges cut at that upward angle on yours and other's in this thread and really like it, am so new to powertools that I'm not sure what you'd use for that (circular saw and VERY careful marking is all I could do with my gear! I doubt I'll be able to build anything like that soon though, have too-many 4x4"s sitting around now that I've gotta put to use!!)

I've got lots of tools haha. For the wood I have a chop saw that can adjust to mitre any angle. Get an adjustable angle measure - cheapo little plastic tool - and you can mark em consistent and use a circular saw.
 

SU2

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#14
I've got lots of tools haha. For the wood I have a chop saw that can adjust to mitre any angle. Get an adjustable angle measure - cheapo little plastic tool - and you can mark em consistent and use a circular saw.
I wasn't aware such a thing existed, I guess it's pretty obvious it would lol just hadn't thought of it but yes that's a fantastic idea I need to get one asap!! Thanks for the reco :)
 
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#16
@SU2 I think you would be better off with (2) 2 x 6 x 8' as your cross members between your two 4 x 4's. Like this:

View attachment 163714

If you sink those 4 x 4's three feet into the ground and back fill them, they aren't going anywhere. Just use treated lumber so they don't rot... If you find that it still moves too much for your liking, you can always brace the legs at the ground level.
what program is that?
 

Bonsai Nut

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#17
what program is that?
@rnlabarnes Sketchup

The 3D software suite was developed independently, bought by Google in 2006, then sold by Google in 2012 to Trimble. You can use many of the functions (and access the online library of 3D models) for free, but the pro functionality you have to buy. For simple 3D models it is both really effective and very easy to use - to say nothing of the hundreds of tutorials and guides available.
 

SU2

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#20
Vin could you tell me the specific paint you used? Not the brand just the hue and sheen, I'm still unsure whether to go full black or charcoal/gunmetal tones, also still unsure between matte and eggshell....would just procrastinate on the choice haha but I figure I should paint it before letting it get all wet and whatnot from trees being on it so really want to get it painted today or tomorrow!!

Thing looks so great by itself, shame my yard's so small and I'll be building another, taller table behind it, will look cluttered but function>form!!
 

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