Garden benches are an attractive addition to your yard or garden, but over time weather will take its toll on the wooden slats of the bench. When this happens, the only way to restore functionality and an attractive appearance to the bench is to replace the slats. This is best done in stages. The slats not only provide seating, but they also hold the two sides of the garden bench together. If you leave the end slats on the bench while you replace the others, the sides will remain stable and the entire job will be easier.
Preparation and Removal
Measure the length of the garden bench slats and the width of each with a tape measure. Count the number of slats requiring replacement. Go to a home-improvement center and purchase wood strips of oak, cherry or pine in the width necessary. The pine wood is a softer wood and is not suitable for benches more than 3 feet long.
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Purchase 4-inch-long, 1/4-inch bolts with nuts for attaching the new slats. When purchasing the bolts, select ones with a an oval head for use with a flat-head screwdriver. Select a stain of your choice for the new slats.
Remove the nuts and bolts that secure the center slats to the garden bench, using a pair of vise grips and a flathead screwdriver. Hold the nuts under the slats with the vise grips and turn the bolts with the flathead screwdriver.
Pull off all the center slats, leaving the front and rear slats in place for the moment. Remove the slats from the back of the bench in the same manner, leaving the top and bottom slats in place.
Prepare New Slats
Place one of the old slats on top of one of the new slats, ensuring the two slats are even on one end. Using the old slat's mounting holes as a guide, mark the mounting hole locations on the new slat with a pencil. Trace the end of the old slat opposite the flush end onto the new slat. This is the mark for cutting the slat to size.
Cut the new slat to the proper length, using a coping saw. The coping saw has fine cutting teeth and is less likely to splinter the wood when cutting. Drill holes into the new slat where you made the mounting hole marks.
Stain the slat, and allow it to fully dry before you attach it to the bench. Make sure you stain the ends and inside the drilled holes to protect the wood as much as possible. Repeat Steps 1 through 3 of this section for all of the center slats.
Attach New Slats
Place the new slats onto the bench over the mounting holes. Line up the holes, and insert new bolts through the tops of the slats.
Thread a securing nut onto each bolt thread under the slat. Hold the nuts with a wrench or pair of vise grips, and tighten with a flathead screwdriver.
Remove the front and rear slats of the bench seats after the new center slats are in place. Remove the top and bottom slats off the back of the garden bench.
Prepare the new slats in the same manner as you did the center slats. Attach the new slats to the bench.