Olive Tree Surround
The mortar and brick circular surround for the olive tree that came with the house was finished. Either the footings or the tree roots collapsed it. I had built a cement block wall around the front yard, so building a smaller wall around the tree was the obvious solution. Covering that with a Redwood bench seemed natural. I buy construction grade Redwood and re-mill it into ‘select’ grade (a.k.a. #1 or better some places) using a Ryobi planer and portable table saw. Both tools paid for themselves on this one project. Construction grade Redwood costs about $1400/thousand board feet. Select, when you can find it cost two or three times that. I used about 300 board feet. The Redwood cost 300/1000x1400=$420. To buy that in select grade would have cost 2.5x$420 or $1060, so I saved the difference, about $640. I used countersunk screws, covered with matching plugs which are cut on my Ryobi drill press (dowel cutter) and table saw, to cut the plugs to the right depth. Assembling the bench necessitated some contortions with my screw gun/drill especially under the bench on the inside. Ryobi’s stubbier impact driver helped a lot. Lastly was the finish. In southern California, the sun and wood are enemies. I soaked the Redwood with six or seven coats Teak Oil which I think is the same as Danish Oil. I did this once a week or so, on the hottest days. Now I use paste wax when it needs it. Ryobi’s polisher makes it look almost like furniture.