Benches for a Woodland Amphitheater

Building a Simple Bench

Dig 3 holes two feet deep and 4 feet apart on the site where you want to build the bench.
Dig 3 holes two feet deep and 4 feet apart on the site where you want to build the bench.
Set 3 foot long 4x4 posts in the holes and concrete them in place or tamp dirt around them. Be sure the tops of all the posts are level.
Set 3 foot long 4x4 posts in the holes and concrete them in place or tamp dirt around them. Be sure the tops of all the posts are level.
Cut two foot long sections of 2x8 and trim like this picture. You'll need six. The bottom edges are 4 inches wide.
Cut two foot long sections of 2x8 and trim like this picture. You'll need six. The bottom edges are 4 inches wide.
Drill two 7/16 inch pilot holes as shown.
Drill two 7/16 inch pilot holes as shown.
Drill pilot holes in the posts to match the bracket holes. Screw five inch long half inch lag screws with washers into the brackets and posts.
Drill pilot holes in the posts to match the bracket holes. Screw five inch long half inch lag screws with washers into the brackets and posts.
Screw brackets to all six posts.
Screw brackets to all six posts.
Make sure the bracket line up parallel to the way the bench plank sets.
Make sure the bracket line up parallel to the way the bench plank sets.
Position the ten foot long 2x12 or 2x10 plank over the posts. Make sure the overhang at each end is equal (about a foot).
Position the ten foot long 2x12 or 2x10 plank over the posts. Make sure the overhang at each end is equal (about a foot).
Drill a hole through the plank into the end of each post and screw a lag screw and washer into each hole.
Drill a hole through the plank into the end of each post and screw a lag screw and washer into each hole.
If you don't use pressure treated wood for this project, stain and varnish or paint it to protect it from bugs, rain and sun.
If you don't use pressure treated wood for this project, stain and varnish or paint it to protect it from bugs, rain and sun.

Amphitheater Construction

Find yourself a contoured spot where a hill or natural train provides a little downslope. The benches can be set level by paralleling the slope and adjusting the height of the posts so the benches are level.

Decide how many benches you want in your natural chapel or theater and measure the length the benches need to cover and how many of them you need to make. The benches will be about a foot high and 10 to 12 inches wide. Use the wider planks for older audiences (you know why, so don't ask).

Figure out the seating capacity you are looking for. A ten foot bench seats about 7 people comfortably. If you want to seat 70 people, then ten benches would just about do it or about 100 running feet of bench. You can daisy chain the benches shown on the right by screwing the ends of two planks to a single post and then just continuing along the tops of posts every 4 feet.

You can also follow the contour of the terrain by angling the cuts on the ends of the planks where two come together so that the bench turns to follow the curve of the hill. You can leave gaps in seating to accommodate boulders, trees or other terrain features you wish to preserve.

Once the seating is in, you can construct as elaborate or simple a stage area as you want. There's nothing quite as peaceful as a chapel in the woods or along a lake shore. Throw in a guitar and some campfire tunes - a moonlit night. It doesn't get much better than that.

Really!

Tom

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