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Home > Projects & DIY Toolkit > How-To Articles > Building a Seed Starting Bench

Building a Seed Starting Bench

Extend the growing season and give your plants a head start with a seed starting bench. Lowe's is happy to provide this information as a service to you.


Determining Size and Dimensions

The amount of space you have usually dictates a bench's depth and width. Size your bench so you can move material and equipment past it freely. Find a good working height— you'll probably spend a good deal of time at the bench so it's important to be comfortable there. Everyone's measurements will vary; for clarity we used 30" for depth, 60" for width and 32" for height.


Tools & Materials

Tools

  •   • Circular saw
  •   • Drill/driver with bits
  •   • Drill bits
  •   • Belt sander or plane
  •   • Wrench
  •   • Tape measure
  •   • Dust mask
  •   • Safety goggles
  •   • Hearing protection

Materials

  •   • 2x4 lumber
  •   • 1x6 lumber
  •   • 9/32" plywood
  •   • 1/4"x3 1/2" carriage bolts with washers and nuts
  •   • Screw hooks
  •   • 2" and 1 1/4" galvanized screws
  •   • Chain
  •   • Shop lights
  •   • Furniture glides

Cut list

Cut the pieces, using the measurements below or use your own custom measurements.

  •   • 1- 19/32" plywood top — 58 1/2" by 28 1/2"
  •   • 2- 1x6 front and back top rails — 60"
  •   • 2- 1x6 top side rails — 28 1/2"
  •   • 8- 2x4 leg pieces — 31 13/32"
  •   • 2- 1x4 shelf side supports — 25 1/2"
  •   • 2- 1x4 shelf front and back supports — 54"
  •   • 1- 2x2 front top support — 51 7/16"
  •   • 1- 2x2 back top support — 48 7/16"
  •   • 2- 2x2 side top supports — 19 7/8"
  •   • 4- 2x4 light posts — 48"
  •   • 2- 2x4 light post cross pieces — 63"
  •   • 1- 19/32" plywood shelf piece — 25 1/2" by 48"
  •   • 1- 19/32" plywood shelf piece — 25 1/2" by 7 1/4"
Good idea: To avoid splitting the boards, predrill holes for the screws.

Making the Side Assemblies

Turn the leg assemblies to hide their seams.

1. Construct four leg assemblies. Butt the edge of one 2x4 leg piece to the face of another and line the ends up flush. Screw the leg pieces together with 2" wood screws. To hide the screws, counterbore the holes in the faces of the leg pieces and fill the holes with plugs.


2. Mark a top side rail 19/32" down from its top edge. The top of each leg assembly should be aligned with the mark at 19/32" so that the plywood top will be flush with the top edges of the top side, front and back pieces in the completed bench. Counterbore the top side rail and screw through its face to secure two leg assemblies in place with 1 1/4" screws. The leg assemblies should be turned such that the seam in the front assembly isn't visible from the front of the bench, and the seam in the rear assembly isn't visible from the side.


3. Install the shelf side support at a distance up from the bottom of the leg assembly equal to the desired height of your shelf. Screw through the support into the leg assembly. There is no need to counterbore for these screws, they will be hidden from view when the bench is complete.


4. Check the assembly for square and adjust as needed.


5. Make the second side assembly using steps 1 through 4.


Constructing the Base

1. Counterbore the top front rail and screw through its face to secure the side assemblies in place with 1 1/4" screws.


2. Install the shelf front support flush with the shelf side supports. Screw through the support into the leg assembly. There is no need to counterbore for these screws, they will be hidden from view when the bench is complete.


3. Install the top back rail and back shelf support the same way you installed the front.


4. Measure between the legs and cut the 2x2 top support pieces to fit.


5. Counterbore through the top front, back and side pieces and secure the top support pieces with 1 1/4" screws.


6. Drill holes for and install the furniture glides in the bottoms of the legs.


Adding the Light Posts and Cross Pieces

1. Position the light posts so that there is no more than 6" from the edge of the light fixtures and the edges of the bench, and no more than 12" between the edges of each light fixture.


2. Hold the light posts to the sides of the bench with the bottom ends of the posts aligned flush with the bottom edges of the sides. Drill 1/4" diameter holes through the light posts and sides. Secure the posts with 1/4" x 3 1/2" carriage bolts.


3. Measure the distance from outside face to outside face of the light posts. Cut the light post cross pieces to fit. Position the light post cross pieces on top of the light posts and secure them to the light posts with 2" screws.


4. Mount the screw hooks to hold the chain for the lights in the underside of the light post cross pieces per the light manufacturer's instructions.


Installing the Top and Shelf

1. Lay the top in place and screw it down with 1 1/4" screws.


2. Cut the first piece for the shelf and secure it to the shelf supports with 1 1/4" screws.


3. Measure the open space left on the bottom shelf, cut a piece of plywood to fit, and secure it to the shelf supports. Position the bench in your workspace and get a head start on all your gardening.


Tools, products, materials, techniques, building codes and local regulations change; therefore, Lowe's assumes no liability for omissions, errors or the outcome of any project. The reader must always exercise reasonable caution, follow current codes and regulations that may apply, and is urged to consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. Please visit our terms of use.

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