350 year old new bench in Cascades area

Jon 6a SE MANovember 15, 2012

Some may remember my new 'Cascades' area.....

....and my plans to replace my rotting Adarondike bench.

Well, here is my new bench made with a salvaged 350 year old piece of wood, Mexican Beach Stone veneered concrete block columns:

I have some large pieces of shale that I will trim to place in front of each section and spread leftover Mexican Beach Stone around, place an old chiminea on one side and....who knows what else.

I really think it fits the area pretty well. I look forward to getting a lot of use when Winter is over.

I will update in the Spring...unless I add more and just can't resist posting before then.


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Jon 6a SE MA

Wouldn't two big Blue Angels look nice flanking the bench on each end?

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 11:43AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

why do i have this feeling.. that no matter what you do.. it will involve stone ...

what about making bread???? .. probably grind your own wheat.. on a .. wait for it.. stone .. lol ..

whats the story on the 350 years??? and why waste it outdoors????


    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 12:45PM
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jan_on zone 5b

Awesome bench. Now - how about a picture of YOU sitting on it, waiting patiently for the hostas to grow?

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 2:09PM
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Love the wood. My brother made a coffee table for me from the cypress timber in Miss Effie Long's house--she was Huey P. Long's sister. Turned out when bro tore down the house they discovered that 100 year old house had been built of cypress which was about 90 years old at that time. That old growth cypress had boards in the attic of the house about 3 inches thick and about 60 feet long--one board spanning the whole attic. The wood dressed out to be a gorgeous honey color, which reminds me of your bench, JonnyB.

Like your drybed, like your new position for the bench. Blue Angels or Guardian Angels, either or both, good choices. Sit there, listen to the whispers in the trees and they will tell you what to do next.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 3:50PM
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bernd ny zone5

With that wonderful dry creek bed, this comfortable bench, all that free space I bet Jonny and everybody else can dream about buying $1,000. worth of hostas from this winter's hosta catalogs. This could be framed with distant rhododendrons.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 4:24PM
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Jon 6a SE MA


My old bench rotted away so I thought I would make a 4 foot bench in this style. I went to a salvage store in New Bedford which has thousands and thousands of items (New England Demolition and Salvage) but no lumber. He told me to call a guy in Middleboro who had some 3 foot by 3 foot timbers about 30 feet long that he said was from a 350 year old building in Fall River. He had the 'scrap' piece 102 inches long left over from the flooring he was cutting from the timbers. I said I needed 4 feet. He said the 102 inch piece was $20 and a 4 foot piece was $20...so I ended up not wanting to waste the lumber and developed this design instead of a straight bench.

One thing I have plenty of around here is stone but the thought of collecting and sorting out enough of the right size for the veneer didn't appeal to me so I ordered the beach stone. 4 bags @ $15 a bag @ Home Depot with free shipping ($41 value for the shipping; $10 and change per 40# bag).


What a great story on that cypress. You must treasure that coffee table. The board I used was pine, I am pretty sure. The beams identical to the one my board came from were black. It didn't look painted. I think it was oxidation from a few hundred years in a mill (???) The piece was remarkably light having fully dried out in 350 years. I use a Sikkens WRO sealer and stain which was rated best by Consumer Reports. The adhesive is Titebond III which is a waterproof adhesive OK for marine use under the waterline. I don't have a table saw so I had to lay out the cuts and clamp a straight edge and cut it with a 'Skill" saw. I used 6 pocket screws on he underside of the joint along with the adhesive. Routed the edges and sanded the rough sawn wood smooth. 16 inch square by 3 1/2" deep concrete pads under the columns, 1/2 inch rebar through the pads and into the ground and the hollow of the concrete blocks, 8 inch galvanized lag screws into the bottom of the seat (2 per column) which are imbeded into type S mortar filling the concrete blocks. This bench is not going anywhere. I'm probably going to cover it for the Winter.


I have some PJM small leafed rhodies that I can divide a few plants off. I also have about 6-7 large leaf purple rhody clones from a couple of larger plants. I pruned the plants up in late Spring. Some of the lower branches had spread out and rooted themselves. On the ones that seemed to be growing upright, I cut their 'umbilical cords' to the 'mother' plant. They wilted back a little at first, but then popped right back up. Sort of a natural air layering. I will probably transplant them soon or in early Spring.

I also have a real nice rhody that I successfully air layered 2 new plants off of (staying where they are), but I have several other rhody varieties that I may start some air layering on. Some are very difficult and require a lot of patience. Some are simply a matter of chopping off a branch that has rooted itself and plant it somewhere else as a new plant.


Be careful what you wish for :0>.


    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 8:56PM
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What a great vieing bench. Love the rocks and the wood is beautiful.. could see a project comin' on! Sikkens is a good product and our son in law got us using it on cedar and they use it on their log buildings , it lasts for years

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 11:29PM
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Jon 6a SE MA

I had never heard of Sikkens until I searched out the ratings for best sealants. If anyone uses the WRO as I did be careful not to use more than one coat. I put on one coat and it soaked right in so I put another on quickly....I then noticed they recommend never putting on multiple coats as it will never harden.

I lucked out because the wood was like a sponge and soaked the first coat up immediately. They recommend re-coating every 2-3 years giving the coating a chance to microscopically crack and allow for a new coat.

I really should read the directions first.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rate My Space

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 7:52AM
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Agree that Sikkens is a great product for durable finishing of wood. It is extremely popular with folks who own classic yachts. I can see that such a finish would appeal to you JonnyB, since you have a penchant for history.

I indeed do treasure that table built by my brother. It goes quite well with my eclectic style. They don't make wood like that any more. :) Also, before my old friend operating The Door Place passed on, he knew I'd buy every old peeling exterior cypress shutter that was in the store. It was a salvage place specializing in doors. Through him, I replaced every hollow core door in MoccasinLanding with recycled French doors, bifold shutters, and cypress shutters. It wasn't a tract house after that. Love it when you can lend some history to a place.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 3:24PM
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Jon 6a SE MA

Moc, you would love NE Demolition and Salvage. Harry, the owner has 2 floors of Warren Buffet's old Berkshire Hathaway mill in the South End of New Bedford, Cove St.

Thousands of doors, thousands of windows, hundreds of claw foot tubs, hundreds and hundreds of old lights, marble slabs from ???, old bars, a ticket depot from a movie Richard Gere was in, a shop with hundreds of old antique dresses, hats, things from drug stores, five and dime store soda fountains and banks that look so fimiliar, mantels, popcorn machines..... 2 floors crammed with mostly old antiques and some 'new' antiques and quirky stuff and some new really nice stuff.

Just a teaser.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 3:46PM
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JonnyB, you paint a tempting image of NE Salvage! Sounds like my sort of place. My brother took me to Carrolton Street Wrecking Yard in New Orleans, and I swooned. What a place....

Guess I'll have to add it to my itinerary for the long train ride we'll take as a vacation....Amtrak northern route via Canada in the warmer weather, and the return month via Amtrak back east on the southern route. Not sure about the timing on that one. But must make some stop-offs along the way. I'm not a theme-park sort of person, I like the real thing myself.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 5:19PM
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Jon 6a SE MA

Here is their website.

Here is a link that might be useful: New England Demolition and Salvage.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 6:24PM
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