How to Build a Planter - Assemble How to Build a Planter - Assemble

Planter Step by Step Approach

The steps to follow in making a planter are:

  1. Familiarizing yourself with the plan.
  2. Cutting the lumber to length.
  3. Doweling the top.
  4. Assembling the pieces.
  5. Finishing

Familiarizing Yourself with the Plan

There are only a few pieces used to make this planter. On the bottom drainage holes are drilled.

Most of the cuts are butt, or straight cuts. The legs and leg tops as well as the top frame will need miter or angled cuts. Dowels will be used in the top to provide strength and the position of the dowel holes should be carefully located. If you do not dowel the top, the joints will separate and warp over time.

Cutting the Lumber to Length

  1. Measure and mark the cuts and angles on the boards. Recheck the plans to make sure the marks are accurate.
  2. Cut the boards and label them after each cut. Use a table saw or a circular saw to cut exact 45 degree angle on the legs and top.

Doweling the Top

  1. To dowel the top prepare to drill the dowel holes using a horizontal boring tool or a doweling jig and centers. The hole should be drilled "1/8 to 1/4" deeper than the dowels' length. To make a simple depth gauge, put tape around the drill bit at the proper length.
  2. Drill the dowel holes and then drill the drainage holes on the bottom.

Assembling the Boards

  1. Attach the cleats to the front and side pieces with 4D hot dipped galvanized nails. Note: The nails used in all outdoor project should be rust resistant.
  2. Nail together the front and side pieces using 4D finishing nails.
  3. Attach the legs to the frame with #8 1" flathead wood screws. Galvanized or brass is a good choice for this. Drill pilot holes to keep from splitting the wood.
  4. Assemble the top frame with dowels and outdoor wood glue. Before the top dries check for squareness and alignment. Let the top dry for 1 hour.
  5. Nail the top to the main frame using 8D hot dipped galvanized nails.

Finishing Touches

Whether you choose to paint, stain, shellac, or just leave the natural color depends on the type of wood from which you built the project and how you want it to weather. If you used treated wood, a clear or tinted sealer, or a water proofing liquid will help it weather.

If painting the furniture is the option you choose, add a mildew resistant element if it does not come with one. Use a special primer as an undercoat so that the paint will adhere better. Thin coats of paint are better then heavy ones and a good brush is important.

Redwood, cypress or cedar do not need a protective coat, however you may want to use one so the wood will not water stain. There are many clear waterproofing liquids on the market made just for redwood, cedar and cypress. These prevent water stain and blackening of the wood.

A varnish stain or polyurethane in clear or tinted is another choice for redwood, cypress and cedar. However you will have some peeling in many climates. If you can not find the right color, a regular wood stain can be used and then just apply a sealer. All stains will darken the grain of the wood in proportion to the length of time the stain is left on. If a driftwood gray is desired a bleaching agent can supply that look.

Be careful when finishing outdoors because of wind blown debris. Keep a good brush, mineral spirits and rags handy to cope. Follow the manufacturers instructions closely, and make sure there is plenty of ventilation.

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