Monday, August 22, 2011

DIY Potting Bench with Dad

Well hello there! Thanks so much for your excitement over our patio project. ;) Today they finished installing and mortaring the fireplace. (It was dry fitted before.)Tomorrow they start applying the stone. YIPPEE!! I think the landscaping may start as early as Thursday or Friday.

SO. EXCITED.

Because we are on an outdoor roll lately, I got some mojo up in here and tackled a project I’ve wanted to do for years.

I’ve always wanted a potting bench…you know, for all the plants I can’t keep alive. ;) I wanted it for planting, but also for entertaining. A separate spot to put ice, drinks, food, whatever, sounds awesome.

So the potting bench was the perfect answer. And my Dad said he’d help me build one. GLEE!!

He came over and I showed him my inspiration photo from Pinterest:

pottery barn abbott island

That would be the Abbott Island from Pottery Barn (of course) and it is pretty awesome, yes? The price is pretty awesome too – as in I’m pretty awesomely going to pass out, $1000.

Dad’s response? “We can totally do that.”

OK, I added the totally…he didn’t say that part. But he knew we could do it!

We took a trip to my fave True Value (Pendleton, IN) and looked through the HUGE lumber yard:

(That’s only half of it.)

We talked about what type of wood I wanted to use. Initially I wanted cedar (because it would hold up best outside) but it is a bit more expensive. Then Dad asked if I’m good about putting outdoor stuff away or covering it for the winter and my response it was a quick and definite NO.

So we went with cedar. :)

true value lumber yard

We got our supplies – 4 x 4’s, a few 1 x 4’s and a bunch of 1 x 6’s. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, I’ll show you those in a video below.)

We cut the 4 x 4’s to 36 inches, then stood them up to start our design:

We cut the 1 x 4’s to the length we needed (more on that in a bit), then attached them with screws to the top of each 4 x 4 and about a foot from the bottom of each as well (for the bottom shelf I wanted):

You can see here how the 1 x 4’s (the long horizontal boards) go off the edge of the legs a bit:

That’s because we created a “frame” around the whole thing, on top and bottom:

make your own potting bench

No mitered (angled) cuts – just simple, straight ones. The best kind. ;)

For added support, we put a couple more boards on the inside of each leg as well:

potting bench supports

See in that upper right picture, how basic this is? It’s just boards screwed into boards. If you have tools, YOU can do this. I mean it!! Yes, I am yelling at you!!

We added a couple more boards to the middle, again with screws – just for a bit more support:

More support never hurts. ;)

Then we cut 1 x 6’s to the depth of the table (about 25 inches) and laid them across the bottom. Yet again, we just screwed them in. No glue, no nails. Just screws.

Easy peasy. I swear.

We cut more 1 x 6’s to fit the top, this way going with the length of the table. Our cuts were a bit off and we were getting a little tired and a lot hot, so we just installed them, then Dad cut down the edge with the jigsaw:

 

It worked like charm!

And then…we were done. Start to finish, it took us two hours. TWO HOURS. Yes, I am yelling at you! ;) I can’t believe how fast it went!

We were both in a groove, because this whole thing went like buttah. Not one issue -- we couldn’t believe it.

I found some basic, low profile hooks at True Value as well and attached those to the sides:

potting bench hooks

I have no idea what I’ll hang on them but they look FAB!

I love it so much!! (Yelling!):

DIY potting bench

I did a quick video to show you the details up close, just in case this isn’t clear. It really is a basic as it looks though – it came together easily.

Here’s the video and I cannot believe I put my face on here, seriously. I had been sweating profusely for two hours straight. And I say “um,” “basic,” and “just” an awful lot. I’m no TV star people:

 

You can see on the video that the bench is placed over our fireplace vent right now but the fireplace is not on and the pilot light is not lit. It will be moved over. Do not put anything near your vent!

So here’s the PB version:

pottery barn abbott island

And ours:

pottery barn knock off potting bench

The PB version is 50” wide, 28” deep and 36” high. Mine is 60” wide, 28” deep and 37” high. I didn’t even plan on the dimensions matching up so much, it just worked out that way. :)

The cedar wood cost about $130 – not a cheap project, but considering it’s $870 cheaper than my inspiration, I’m thrilled. And mine is even wider than theirs!

I’m trying to decide if I’m going to add some wheels – I found these super cool casters at True Value:

I just don’t know if they’re chunky enough. I may put them on just to see – it won’t hurt!

Now…the BIG question! What to do now? I had planned all along to stain or paint it. When I mentioned that to my Dad I think he may have had a small conniption. ;) He said the cedar will age beautifully over time and he would just leave it.

And when I hosed everything off, it was even more gorgeous – the water brought out all the beauty in the wood:

cedar wood potting bench

So now I’m leaning toward just a coat of poly or Tung oil, to bring out the tones of the wood.

What would you do? Paint it? Stain it? Leave it as is? I know what my Dad would do. ;) Once I figure that out, I’m going to start using it and I cannot wait!

Speaking of my Dad – HE IS AWESOME!! It thrills me to no end that we can DIY together like this. I love that we continue to make father/daughter memories, even as I get older. And he reads this blog, every day.  :) Thanks Dad, I love you!

 

I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program as well as my writing about my experience. I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.

104 comments:

  1. Whoa... first comment? How did I manage THAT? Ha. Cool beans. Anyway, I would probably just leave it the way it is. You can always change it up later if you decide it doesn't work for you after all :)

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  2. ALWAYS listen to your Dad :)

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  3. That is a GORGEOUS project! I think life is all about making memories! This is perfect! You will remember this time together every time you look at that table!

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  4. Wow!!! My favorite project I think thus far from your bag of tricks!! Beautiful. I would keep the cedar as is for now. Your dad is right; the wood will age perfectly ;)

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  5. and thats why there is such a thing as fathers day! your dad is awesome!
    Great work, the both of you!! It looks FAB!!

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  6. Love the father/daughter part!! Sounds like me and my dad. Great job!

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  7. Just a suggestion, but maybe you could put sheet metal/tin on top to 'industrialize' it and then maybe it wouldn't need staining? Impressed. ;o)

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  8. First,I love the fact you built this with your dad. I grew up helping my dad build things and that's a very special memory to me. Second I love the bench!! I personally would like it stained just a tad darker...Also I feel if you do want to put the casters on that they should be chunky and large so they add to the piece and don't look like an after thought. Even if you decide to leave it with no casters it still looks great! When it has plants it will look super awesome!
    Love your blog!!

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  9. Leave it natural. Add you color with glazed pots and pretty plants and flowers.

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  10. That is so very sweet!~ I would stain it. In fact I just stained our new outdoor Adirondack chairs versus painting. It was the first time I made that choice outdoors, so we shall see what I would say next year. It looks awesome!

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  11. That is amazing! How cool you get to spend that father daughter time still. And I'm in love with your bench!
    I would probably leave it as is.

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  12. Hey Sarah,

    I LOVE this post, this item, the price - um just about everything about it!!

    Thanks for sharing, it's super fab. The only way it would be better is if you had a built in button that I could click to convince hubby to build one for me.

    Can you work on that?

    xoxo
    Kristina
    @PearlGateway

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  13. Love it Sarah! Your video was too cute and you're adorable. : ) It's so sweet, you and your dad built that together. I'd love to have a relationship like that with my dad. You're a very lucky lady!

    The potting bench looks great. The two of you did a totally awesome job. ; ) I think I'd just put a clear coat on it and leave it. The wood looks beautiful when it's wet. Well done! : )
    ~ Catie

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  14. Cabbott (at lowes) makes a weathering stain. It helps give wood that aged look but still keeps the natural tones of the wood. It's fantastic!!

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  15. That looks so nice! I love it. Isn't it wonderful to have dads that are so handy? I love doing projects with my dad.

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  16. Oh girl I've wanted one of those for a long time and YOU'RE TEMPTING ME!!

    BEAUTIFUL!

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  17. LOVE this project, whoa!! You and your dad are super talanted, great job! I say leave as is. Protect the wood for sure but leave as is. It will make the project simpler too :) Gorgeous!

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  18. I would just put a clear coat layer on there. That way it brings the wood out beautifully. Staining is quite intensive and painting would cover the beauty of the wood.

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  19. This post made my heart smile! Something so special between a girl and her Daddy~

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  20. My hubby made me a potting bench like that for Christmas a couple years ago. Very similar, but mine has an old window framed in behind it. I LOVE IT. I use mine as a buffet or drink station when we have company. Mine isn't cedar, but I left it untreated. I think yours would be pretty with some sort of natural sealer on it that makes it look like it does when it's wet. :o) Pretty fancy!!!

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  21. I LOVE it!! And how awesome would that be as a kitchen island! You could use cheaper wood, and paint it. And pans, or dish towels, or aprons, or hot pads (I could go on) could hang from the hooks!!

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  22. Your garden card looks fantastic! How fun to be able to make it with your dad too. :) We have a cedar deck and use Superdecks' Transparent Stain (professional Exterior Oil Base). The color is 1910-Natural. It protects the wood, but keeps the natural look and color of the cedar. I'm not sure if that's what you are going for, but thought I'd pass the info. on to you. Enjoy your cart. :)

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  23. Wow I love this project! You make it look so easy! I really want to try making something like this now. :)

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  24. You make me think I might actually be able to do this...myself. Although I think I need to borrow your dad LOL. I think it looks fantastic!

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  25. Not only is this project a winner, the fact that you took time out with your dad makes it one in a million. You both make an awesome team. :)

    Donna
    http://funkyjunkinteriors.blogspot.com/

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  26. Awesome project! So cool you can DIY with your dad! I am so jealous of anyone that can do anything with their dad, mine is sort of a jerkface :( makes me sad :( but happy for you!!

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  27. Hi, I would leave it as it is. It turned out beautiful. You are very blessed to have a Dad that loves making memories with his daughter. :)

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  28. WOW what a great work bench!
    I too am a lucky person to have a man in my life who can create.
    I have linked this to my blog so others will see it too you lucky thing : )

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  29. Thought you might like to do this: My Dad and I made a coffee table for my screen porch and afterwards, my Mom took our picture with it. I uploaded that picture into a Word document then added text about when we made it and some other misc. information then printed it and laminated it. Next, I taped it with packing tape underneath the thing. Now, no matter who owns it, they'll always know where it came from! Of course, I'm hoping one of my daughters end up with it - will be a neat keepsake for them.

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  30. I would use something made for outdoor wood like that used for decks....that will be renewable. Ask your guys at True Value for suggestions. Or let it age and not add another worry. You could also get a remnant of granite cut for the top but not 3cm thick but 2 cm thick.

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  31. i think the wheels would be great on it. It will be a perfect bar when you are entertaining in your new space. Also, you could probably get a remnant of marble or slate for the top if you ever want to change its look.

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  32. Wow!! You just saved yourself $1000 minus timber, and your Dad earned a hug from a happy daughter (I hope), lol. It is truly FAB!! As far as the wheels are concerned, I had noticed the superexpencive one had wheels on and yours didn't, and I wondered while reading if you were going to put them on. Then, after seeing some more pictures of your bench I thought it actually looks better without (unless you are going to move it around a lot, then I suppose wheels would come handy, lol). Let us know what you decided anyway:)
    Love from Moorland Home

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  33. ok....LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE :) I see big pitchers of sangria with a ladel and gorgeous glassware...maybe some leaves and pumpkins on one side...and some cool candlesticks with candles...and maybe a plate of cheese and grapes....of fall entertaining at it's best! Love it! I too learned everything I know from my dad :) I love working on projects together too. Enjoy the potting bench....because you totally rocked it girl!!! I vote for tung oil :)

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  34. Giiirl, that is a mighty fine DIY project! I have been eyeing potting benches online and I just love the look of yours! Yep, Pottery Barn is gonna be jealous b/c you outwitted them yet again. ;)

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  35. Love this bench/beverage cart!!! The best part is that you did it with your father.

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  36. what a most excellent project...your dad is a sweetie for working out that potting bench with you...my vote is for a little tung oil and let it age...and i do like those casters too.

    alison

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  37. I agree with your Dad, leave it. It so beautiful! I loved your post. Your Dad sounds like a sweetheart....

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  38. WOW! It looks great! I would leave it to "naturalize" since it is Cedar, maybe add tin over the counter area--or not--it really looks nice as is--just needs some "things" on top to decorate it! Every time I go out to look for a "whatever" for my house (in the process of remodeling) I am always thinking--what would the Thrifty Decor Chick do! Love your ideas!

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  39. I really like the bench, you did a great job. I spent last summer renovating my parents house. It was great to spend that time with them.

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  40. Looks awsome! I would just oil it .The colors are soooo pretty.Put the wheels on.Maybe distress them a little.What a great time with your Dad.I helped my dad sand a picnic table when I was 7.I thought I was big stuff with the electric sander. Unfortunatly my Dad passed away when I was 9. :( So build more with your Dad.Love reading your blog.
    Mary

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  41. I love this! Not only because it was a Pottery Barn knock off, ($1,000 REALLY?) but because you made it with your Dad. This will be a special piece forever. Enjoy it and I hope you and your Dad will make more things together.

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  42. WOW!!! (Yes, I am yelling - haha!). I love it. Listen to your dad and leave it as-is. I love the idea of wheels, but maybe chunkier ones. I like the fact that you put the hooks on the side instead of the front. My first thought when I saw the PB one was, "I would catch my clothes on those hooks when I leaned against the bench." Good job, as always. Thanks for sharing.

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  43. P.S. I love the video. Pleeeease do more of them.

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  44. That is sooooo gorgeous!!!!I love it. I would def. leave it as is, maybe a coat of poly or that oil you were talking about. I can't wait to do that!

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  45. Listen to your father, Sarah! ;) IT.IS.GORGEOUS the way it is - great job!

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  46. Leave it! Your dad is right. The cedar is gorgeous.

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  47. You guys did an amazing job! Beautiful table. TWP makes a great clear stain that seals the wood and keeps it from going grey.

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  48. I loved that you did a little video to help us out. Thanks! Your dad IS awesome! You're so lucky to have him.

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  49. I love that! The wood is beautiful... I'd just put some Tung oil on it and call it a day!

    You and your dad did a great job.

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  50. First of all you and your dad ROCKED IT! Second, this brought tears to my eyes, because I know for a fact that once I would have shown your project to MY dad he would have been all over it. He would have even brought his table saw 3 hours to our house to help us. One more reason I miss him so much. Perhaps I will put on my big girl pants and try it myself...

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  51. Oh my goodness. How beautiful? And what an awesome way to spend time with your dad. :-)

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  52. Your potting bench is fabulous--even nicer than the one from PB! I've always wanted a potting bench myself. I think I need to show this to my husband.


    Jane
    frugalfineliving.com
    Join us on Facebook!

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  53. Would you believe I found 2 workbenches in the garage of the house I bought last year that look almost identical to this? The only downside is they are 6' long...huge. Gave thought to dragging one in & using it as a kitchen island, but just too big. Right now, I plan on staining the top dark walnut & painting the bottom turquoise to use as my potting bench. The other one is going to a friend. :-)

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  54. Fathers knows best! It's fantastic!!!

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  55. Turned out beautiful! Love it. I have a few tables that I made with my dad that I just cherish. I am gonna tackle this one with my husband.
    Oh - and don't stain or paint it :-)

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  56. Hi Sarah -

    The potting bench came out great. The best part - you got to spend time with your dad. The fact that he helped you make it will always make it a special piece.

    My best- Diane

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  57. Looks fantastic, congrats. Great job Dad.

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  58. Looks great !! You guys did a great job !!

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  59. I used a Sherwin Williams transparent oil based stain on my cedar potting bench and it still looks great after 4 years. The name of the color escapes me, but it's a lovely earthy grey which matches the deck. I would love to have casters on mine which would make it much easier to move when the leaves begin to fall. I know you'll love using this for lots of things and it will also double as an outdoor buffet or bar when you have guests.

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  60. Very nicely done! One thing I'm learning from your blog and others' is that you can see something and make it your own. I love the empowerment!

    I vote for leaving it alone. If it were pine, I would paint it and then it would get that lovely "chippy" look over time. But your dad is right, cedar ages beautifully. I loved what someone further up suggested: the metal top. But I would wait until you feel like a change (and you know you will feel like a change!)

    Post pics if you put on the casters! I love the PB casters! They are awesome! But probably cost as much as you have already spent on your project!

    Barb

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  61. LOL, just saw that my comment (Barb) went out under my daughter's name! I'm not a multiple personality! Or maybe I am...hmmmm

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  62. I would def leave it alone, natural. Nice job! Cool that your Dad helped.

    I can't imagine using it for potting soil and then a bar the next week. Seems it would need to be one or the other? Maybe if you put plastic down or something when it is for potting. ?

    It doesn't look like you selected casters from the Habitat Restore. They can get pretty pricey at retail stores. I think wheels would be a great addition. I wonder how they would do with a spray of ORB? See..you are getting in my head. ha.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Chrissy

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  63. It turned out fabulous!! And I love that your dad wanted to help you with it, those are the BEST projects!!

    I would leave it alone, it's already looking great! The casters would look so neat, maybe paint those ORB?

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  64. I don't need a potting bench but I can see a new craft table and a new sewing table in my future. I love what you and your dad have done! Thank you both for posting such a user friendly project. I'd go with dad's recommendation, its and outdoor table. I think mother nature will weather it to a beautiful patina for you. Thanks again!

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  65. Wow, cool project! I made an outdoor table out of cedar in early June and had intentions of painting it since I thought it looked too much like just a bunch of 2x4s. But I haven't gotten around to painting it yet and now I LOVE the way it is starting to age. So glad I gave it some time. Of course I can always paint it later if the mood strikes. So I suggest you give it some time. Do let us know!

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  66. hi! im new in the interior zone, and im looovinng ur blog! you give me so much inspiration :)

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  67. Oh my gosh!!! I am screaming with you. Not only would I like THAT, but I have wanted a small butcher type block table next to our grill. My hubby could totally make this for us. AWESOME! Great idea!

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  68. How fantastic! Who needs Pottery Barn when you have a Dad that can do that?? I would leave it as is for this year anyway, and then you can change it up next year with paint or stain for something different.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  69. This is gorgeous! And the fact that you can do it with your dad? As Mastercard says - priceless! Don't need Pottery Barn when you can do this. Beautiful wood, lovely colour - I'd Tung oil it just to bring out the tones.

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  70. Looks great! Awesome job! :)

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  71. I love the bench and I love all of your yelling, so funny!

    I would just paint the top and leave the rest and just oil it. Beautiful!

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  72. This is fantastic! I have been casually shopping for a potting bench for months. This solution is far less expensive and it will be more fun than buying one! Thank you!

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  73. oh my its gorgeous! can i borrow your dad sometime?

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  74. People buy cedar so they can appreciate the wood not cover it up! Listen to your dad, you know he's right ;-)

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  75. OMG! I love it! I think you should poly it and leave it and add those great wheels....LOVE! I must have one for a kitchen island topped with a marble remnant. Tabitha @ simplyhomecents.blogspot.com

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  76. I'm in central OH and at our Habitat for Humanity Re-Use Store they have a great selection of casters / wheels. Used, so have built-in character. Thought you might want to give it a try in your area.

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  77. Love the bench! I would seal it with a natural seal! I am more jealous of your time spent with your Dad though. My Dad and I did many projects together. He is gone now, but the memories and the furniture will be here forever!!

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  78. Listen to your Dad! I would put some large chunky wheels on it. What about a zinc top? How much would that add to the top?

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  79. I say leave it alone and let it do it's thang. Not yelling. :)

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  80. I would stain it, I would also give a coat of ORB paint to the wheels. It will look really rustic. :o)

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  81. Gorgeous! I love it the way it is- I think when the casters are added and it's been sealed to prevent damage, it will be perfection.

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  82. The one thing I've learnt over my 30 years of living is my Dad is ALWAYS right! Leave it!
    I LOVE that you and your Dad are making these memories, my Dad is turning me into his little apprentice too, I love it!!
    PS Love the bench, it looks beautiful!

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  83. It is lovely! You can use the hooks to hang baskets of napkins & utensils when you entertain.

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  84. I love this father/daughter keepsake! I'd just use some outdoor waterseal on the cedar. I don't know if I like the casters, but they would keep the leg ends off the deck thus wouldn't soak up water! Find some cool ones! I use Thompson's waterseal on my cedar mailbox post every year or two and aging nicely to gray/silver, but still healthy!

    If I wanted to paint an outdoor item, I'd use pine or whatever and then after painting use a few coats of poly for protection...same with stain. So I'm gonna yell back at ya'... don't paint the gorgeous cedar! :)

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  85. Great piece!

    'Please visit our new website www.tableandtop.com'

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  86. I love your new potting table - y'all did a fabulous job on it!! If it were mine, I'd add the casters to get the feet up off of the deck, give it a nice coat of tung oil and then just enjoy the heck out of it! :-)

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  87. Table looks awesome! I'm totally jealous!
    As for staining or painting, I would leave it be, however i would suggest sealing it with something.... cedar attracts carpenter bees....the BIG HUGE NASTY UGLY ones. I have cedar on the house and have to battle with them yearly, called and exterminator this year and he informed me that they cannot drill into fresh painted/sealed wood.

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  88. I love your potting bench, I would definitely leave wood, It’s beautiful, you can always paint it later, if you hate it. And you are right, dads are awesome, mine lives all the way in Slovakia, so we can’t do much DIY projects together. I wish he was closer, just to think about the possibilities. I enjoy your blog, you are one talented lady.

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  89. That is awesome, I want one! Nice job Sarah! What a great dad for helping!

    Candace

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  90. I love your potting bench. I could use one of those. I love digging in the dirt, but I'm always on the ground when I'm potting plants. Standing up would be great at a bench like yours.

    I can't wait to see what you do with your yard and new fireplace. Check out my outdoor fireplace on my blog. The best post to show the whole yard is An A for Effort.

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  91. cuteness! The table and the fact that you did it with your dad! Leave it..keep it simple. It WILL age on it's own and be gorg!

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  92. Gorgeous!

    I've had really good luck aging cedar for that silvery-grey color. I would do that and then seal it.

    The oxidizing formula is this: fill a jar with vinegar, add a hunk of 0000 steel wool, screw the cap back on. Let the steel wool dissolve for a week. Shake it periodically. Use a disposable paint brush to brush the vinegar mixture onto the cedar and watch it age. The magic happens almost immediately.

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  93. Sarah! I love this! And I love even MORE that your dad made it. What precious memories! I love any chance I can get to be with my dad, and I love when he helps me with projects.
    Enjoy!
    And give your daddy a kiss from me. :)

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  94. Wow... i like the table. He sure is very talented.

    We have a link-up party going on - Tea Time Thursdays @ Kreative Korner. I would really appreciate if you'd link up some of your awesome posts there. Hope to see you at the party.

    http://tanyaanurag.blogspot.com/2011/08/tea-time-thursdays-3-and-features.html

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  95. Found your blog when looking for a DIY potting bench project. I am so inspired by your project because it looks so DOABLE for the average Joe/Jane. I am going to snaz mine up a little bit and put a top shelf on it, too, just making the back legs longer and adding a shelf and iron brackets. I'll send you a link to my picture when I get it finished. Thanks so much for posting all of the pictures of the process and explaining it so well. I'm so excited to get started!!

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  96. These casters might be a better choice - they are similar to the PB ones and are also probably a bit stronger. Great Job!!!

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  97. Thanks for the great instructions! I'm off to re-do my rickety old potting bench into something very cool like yours. Thanks for the inspiration!
    Susan

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  98. Hi Sarah,
    Thanks for the inspiration! My brother helped me put this together based on your idea. It's almost identical, but a little bit longer, and so the extra set of legs.

    http://instagr.am/p/KBUtxYwIXJ/

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  99. so pretty, love the table, you and your dad did a great job, just found your blog, anxious to read lots more. glenda

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  100. Thrifty chick thank god for you and this post because now I have one of my own I just finished this morning with the help of my housemate! Check it out, I'm in love, I added a shelf because I wanted height and display space...I'm so thankful to youfor this one.
    fairycafeandgarden.blogspot.com/2013/01/d-i-y-potting-bench-happy-dance.html

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  101. This was awesome!

    I love how supportive you are of other people, and encouraging, and I especially love that you and your dad appreciate each other and do stuff together :) I don't have that with my dad, I'm glad you do. xo

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