Foundation should come first so I think we should start with the leg. The leg I use has a oval hole in it and a 1/2″ hole through the upper part for the bole that holds the bench together. The bolt threads into an insert cast into the bottom of the bench top. (Mold shown below.)

There are bench leg molds available but I have not seen any with this connecting feature. You might want to design and build your own and make it more personal. The concrete I use is Quickrete and I add a little Portland cement. (about 2 pounds per 80 pounds of Quickrete). It makes it a bit stronger and easier to finish.

I hope this enough to start. We will get to the bench top mold next.

Antique concrete bench leg mold

Antique concrete bench leg mold

The mold after it has been filled with concrete - with threaded pipe used to connect leg to top.

The mold after it has been filled with concrete - with pipe temporarily installed. The pipe will be pulled out just before the concrete sets, and the resulting channel will be used for the connecting bolt that holds the finished leg to the top of the concrete bench.

Installing the bolts in the top so it can be connected to the leg.

Installing the bolts in the top so it can be connected to the leg.

Connecting the top to the molded leg for safety.

Connecting the top to the molded leg for safety.

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20 comments untill now

  1. Hi Pete.

    Thanks for posting this Ive been looking all over for instructions on how to do a concrete bench.
    I have tried to some what recreate the leg molds in
    your picture and my first leg pour came out fairly
    good but I had to beat the center to death to get it
    out even though I had oiled the heck out of it. Are
    the rounds that make the through hole tapered? Also
    are the little pea sized and smaller bubble holes normal or do I need to vibrate it more?

  2. You can sometimes get most all the bubbles out but it is dificult. If it is important to you to have a smooth finish mix very fine sand and cement together and rub it on dampened product with a rag or paper towel. Let it dry a little and wipe off all excess.

  3. All parts of your mold need to be tapered to release the concrete.

  4. Larry Holzem @ 2010-01-28 05:15

    Hey Grampa Pete,

    Awesome article. I was wondering if you are willing to share the diemesions of your frame pieces…? As well as a template of your feet casts…?

    thanks,
    larryim@charter.net

  5. Hi. We have no secrets so Here are the dimensions we use. For leg.
    Bottom 5 1/2″
    Top 3 3/4″
    Highth 16″
    For top.
    Lengh 48 1/4″
    Width 17 1/4″ 2 3/8″ thick.
    I hope this answers your questions. If you Make one we would like to see a picture. Thanks.
    Grampa Pete

  6. James Teter @ 2010-01-31 19:13

    Is there a retail outlet that you know of, to buy the threaded inserts for the bench bolts? Thanks, Jim

  7. Hi Jim,
    You might try any concrete company that does precast work. They should at least point you in the right direction.
    Grampa Pete

  8. Nancy Andol @ 2010-06-01 12:48

    I have been looking for a bench leg mold that has design inside as well as outside…is this called 3 dimensional? and does it need to be bolted, etc.? Do not want one that has to be cemented together after unmolding..your top picture shows what I’m looking for ..thank you, nancy

  9. Hi Nancy;
    With a simple two piece mold I think you would have trouble stripping. Everything needs to be tapered and smooth. You could put designs on the flat face of your mold. I think that would work. I don’t know what you would call that.
    Grampa Pete

  10. Hi There, Congrats on the great work! I’m just wondering if you could point me in the right direction in finding a leg mould similar to yours.I have looked and haven’t really found anything that I liked. I am not very handy when it comes to making my own so I was just wondering if you had any suggestions…Thanks

  11. Hi,
    My only suggestion would be to take a drawing or a picture of the one in the blog to a woodworker and ask him (or her) about it. Be sure to taper the sides and the hole to let the concrete strip. I hope that is of some help and if you have other questions please ask.
    Grampa Pete

  12. Hi again, I am in the process of getting a mould made based off of your dimesions in the early post. The only thing that I am stuck on is the length of the top portion of the mould and the bottom as well..also im not sure what you mean by letting the concrete strip..anyway help would be greatly appreciated! thanks again…pictures to follow when done!

    -Charlie

  13. Hi Charlie,
    The top and bottom measurements are both 14 inches. My reference to stripping is to be sure all surfaces are tapered so there is nothing for the concrete to hang up on. I use several coats of spar varnish on the finished mold.
    Grampa Pete

  14. Hi, Grandpa Pete,
    I noticed no recent responses on here so I wanted to just say I came across your site after days and days of just searching and researching for simple info for stepping stones and somehow I found you guys,lol
    So since I was here I noticed the great leaf work.
    So then I cruised around rest of your site.
    Watching you in the video’s was refreshing and sweet, I couldn’t help but giggle with you at the end of the leaf video because of how sweet you seem and how you can tell you like what you do.(because of your video i will try a small leaf project first) But thanks for such a great video,I also loved all the video’s on the benches, thanks for making your video and I will checking in your site often now that I know your here.
    Keep up the good work:)
    Farraha

  15. Sorry I forgot to ask In first response How do you do your lettering? Did I miss that part? All the searches I’ve been doing this seems the hardest for me as I’m wanting like a dug out look for my lettering like you had in one of yours.But I’m having trouble finding big enough and pretty enough lettering,I find small ones all day long but I would like bigger one’s for bigger projects, So how do you do your’s? That would be a great video unless there already is one and I just Missed It.
    any advice would be great!
    Thanks again.
    Farraha

  16. Pete carves his letters into the board he uses for the mold. When the bench is finished the letters stand up from the surface of the bench. If the letters are lower than the bench water will sit there, and when it freezes the concrete will develop small cracks. He draws the outline of the letters onto the board, and then uses a power wood carving tool (I think it’s similar to this one) to create the outline. After that he uses a hand chisel to remove the extra wood between the outlines.

    Pete has the flu today, but when he feels better I’ll have him tell us the exact tool that he uses to create the designs on his bench molds.

  17. Oops – I was wrong. Pete is feeling better now, and he told me the carving tool he uses is a Proxxon Power Carver. He also said that he just drew the letters for his Imagine bench, but you can also print out letters on your printer in the right size and then trace them onto a mold (upside down, of course, so they come out right side up when the bench comes out of the mold.) You can find lots of different fonts in your Word program. His letters are about 7 inches high.

  18. I am looking to make a mold for a garden bench, but I want to make a 72 inches long. So that I can stretch and take a nap under the tree. My concern is, if I should make 3 legs or the 2 thicker legs. Also I want to know, if I should make the bench top thicker with more rebars? What type of wood do you use to make the mold? any lining needed inside to make the removal easy. I will do one this summer and share the photo with you.

  19. Grampa Pete @ 2012-07-09 12:35

    Hi John,
    I use M D F boards for the forms because it is easy to carve. The rebars you put in should be engineer aproved. I use 4 3/8 inch bars the long way and 7 3/8 inch bars across. Two legs should be enough if the weight is distributed properly. Three legs would make it harder to level. Thickness should also be engineered. It maybe should be a little wider to make it look right.
    Lots of luck.
    Grampa Pete.

  20. Mom Mom Patty @ 2016-04-08 11:55

    Hi Pete,
    Do you sell any of your benches ? I love your work ! I am going to try and do a giant leaf .
    Please let me know if you have a site that you sell your benches ?

    Thank you,

    Patty Driscoll

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