Eric Bass’ 2012 Eagle Scout project was a bike rack and benches for his school, Christiansburg High School, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia. In 2012, the wood shop had created beautiful bench tops. Unfortunately, these didn’t survive the harsh winters and sun exposure of the last four years. As a commitment to sustaining his project, Eric and his father, Henry, set out to rebuild two benches on the band & soccer practice field. The new design uses pressure-treated 2x4 and 1x4 pieces, arranged with empty space between boards to shed water and create a modern look.
The bench is held together with all-weather wood glue and 8 threaded rods through the middle of each beam, which required lots of precise drilling with 2 Ryobi One+ drills. Once the wood was cut, drilling and assembly of the first bench took just 2 hours. The second bench went together in a half-hour less. We found the trick to assembling this long structure was to work with all 6 threaded rods simultaneously, gluing the board, tapping on the rods, adding the next board, glue, and tap the rods further until all layers were complete. From there, tightening the assembly with nylon lock-nuts on each end, plus four furniture clamps overnight ensured a strong bond. On the practice field, we removed the old weathered bench tops, placed the new tops and drilled our lag-bolt starter holes. The Ryobi One+ Impact driver kit did a great job of securing the benches to our posts using the old angle-iron.
The marching band immediately noticed the beautiful benches last month, as did the community soccer teams and dog-walkers. Eric’s Eagle Project placards still adorn these benches. The open-slat design can be used for other outdoor furniture projects, adapted for spacing as needed.