Images and design discussion
The three legged approach does work, but of course the bench will be prone to tipping over on the one leg side if we are not careful. Since the widest part of the bench seat is on the side with two legs, it is more natural to sit down on that end. The bench is really not wide enough for two adults to sit comfortably. I don’t think tipping should be an issue, and if so I can always alter the base to a four-legged thing. But I doubt that will be necessary.
The main reason why I chose three legs over four, is that the bench will be placed at various locations in the garden throughout the year. A tripod will always be stable where as four legs demands flatness. I also felt that the tapered form of the slab commanded three legs – the base reflects the form of the slab. The angle of the legs gives the bench a bigger footprint, which improves the stability. The three legged design makes the bench look lighter (bonus: it actually IS lighter, too). At least in my mind.
The legs are mostly rift sawn, with some quartersawn areas. I chose the lower horizontal rail specifically to highlight the ray flecks, and I think it came out great. A nice detail: the rays in the wedged tenon reflects the direction in the pattern around it.
The handle makes the bench easy to lug around with just one hand. Easy to pick up and carry to where it is needed, be it around the fire pit, under the cherry tree or in the kitchen garden.
As for stability, it is a bit wobbly if you sit down on the one leg side. On the other end it is completely stable.
If I were to make another tree-legged bench, I would make it shorter / not as wide. The tripod legs works great, but a shorter distance between them would yield a more stable base.
Overall, I am very pleased with how the bench turned out. And more important: so is my wife and daughters. For my own benefit, I enjoy the fact that I did everything except planting and growing the tree. Felling, slabbing, stacking, preparing and making. Love it!
Here are some images of the bench in various places in our garden:
The UV filter in the oil made the bench a golden brown color. I really like how it turned out. You can click on the image below for a full-size version.
It will be interesting to see how this finish will hold up over time out in the elements. There are a few places in our garden where I want to build a bench / seat, and I need to find a finish that holds up over time. I don’t want to refinish and do maintenance 1-2 times a year. My fire pan benches has held up beautifully for over two years, despite being heavily used all over the place and standing out in the elements all the time. And those are just construction grade pine with a coat of deck sealer.
One location for a seat, is the rock wall behind the bench in the “gravel pictures” above. I am thinking of making some support brackets out of concrete, coming straight on the rock face (rebar will be inserted into the rock of course). A wide oak seat on top, and the rock as a backrest. It would be a great place to enjoy the early spring sun as it is faced due south. The fire pan could also be placed nearby. There will be pictures and an article about that on this blog, I can assure you. 😊
One man’s firewood, the same man’s garden furniture. Who knew?