Primitive Bench Complement the serenity of your garden with a rustic primitive bench.
Thomas Louthen, custom furniture maker, works only with natural materials. You emerge from the cool woods into a sunny clearing. . .

What you see at first appears to be a resting spot assembled by Nature Herself.

 
Master craftsman Thomas Louthen combines art with function. Two massive stones support unadorned timbers, primitive but perfectly balanced.

Look closer. . .

 

 
Thomas Louthen, designer of natural furniture, began to experiment with woodworking and shaping metals when still a boy. Thomas Louthen draws inspiration from the natural world around him to create beautiful rustic furniture that will last a lifetime.

Is it furniture or sculpture? Master craftsman Thomas Louthen combines art with function
to create beautiful natural accents for your home and garden.

How do you make a bench like this? Here, briefly, is the pertinent information to start. Use boards that resist rot; teak, cypress, Osage orange, black locust, etc. The bench viewed here is at least eighteen years old. I used black locust slabs that a local sawyer cut for me. There is plenty of locust in Ohio, used mostly for fence posts.

The stones I used are old foundation stones made from sandstone. You can, of course, use any stone of appropriate size that you can stand, plumb and drill into. Sandstone, limestone, and marble are much easier to drill than granite.

The braces I use are 3" x 3" x 1/4" angle iron cut to an appropriate length, ground smooth, and drilled with three staggered holes on the bottom, to be mounted flush on the stone. The corresponding holes in the stone are drilled large enough to receive lead anchors. The anchors are large enough to accept 3/8" galvanized lag bolts. The angle iron MUST fit flush against the stone. If the stone's sides are rough, you may have to chisel it smooth enough to flush the metal. The top flat of the iron should level at 16" from the ground. The 2" thick planks bring the seat to a comfortable 18" height. I drilled four holes in the top side of the metal to bolt on the wood. The metal, needs to be sanded cleaned and two coats of high quality, rust resistant paint applied.

Now you simply bolt everything together.

Some extras: I use bronze silicon bolts and nuts to attach the planks. I also sanded the tops to 400 grit and applied a few coats of Tung oil. You can re-sand and oil every few years if you want it looking spiffy, but kept off the ground, locust will last indefinitely. Locally the sandstones (nice ones) are going for about $100.00 a piece. You bolt everything together on a flat level surface, just snug the bolts down to make sure of your fit. You should make any adjustments necessary before dismantling and moving, in pieces, to your favorite view. Consider your spot carefully as the typical stones from my selection weigh 200-300 pounds and more per stone. This obviously makes moving difficult once assembled as the bench will weigh 500 pounds and up.

I make custom benches to order. I have a huge selection of stone (been collecting for twenty five years). I also have a great selection of locust, cedar, red oak, cherry, walnut, and just about every local hardwood. Some of my benches would do better indoors or at least under cover (patio, etc). A maintenance coat or two of a good spar varnish every couple of years will allow you to use most hardwoods outdoors.

A finished custom bench, as described, starts around $ 400, if you come pick it up. Custom allows you the freedom to pick stone and wood, prices to be negotiated depending on your choices.

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