Outdoor Garden and Patio Furniture – Lutyens Bench

Outdoor garden furniture

Pictured is a bench with a curved centre backrest. The benches we now make have a straight piece as the centre back rest. The curved top backrest remains as pictured.

The Lutyens Bench was designed by Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens, referred to as “the greatest British architect” and is known best for having an instrumental role in designing and building a section of the metropolis of Delhi, known as New Delhi.

The Lutyens Bench contains a unique design on the back rest and the front posts which can be seen from the pictures alongside and elsewhere on this blog. There are various designs which have surfaced as carpenters adapt them and some include a curved centre back rest piece while others contain a straight piece. Fundamentally though the signature design remains much the same.

We construct these benches largely from balau timber as we obtain them from off cuts from our decking activities. Balau is a very hard, dense weather proof timber which contains many oils and resins which naturally repel water. Hence rot is reduced to a minimum. It also contains toxins which prevent insects from eating it, but are harmless to humans and animals.

If left unsealed balau will turn a grey colour which is often referred to as natural balau (unsealed). It won’t necessarily rot any quicker if left unsealed but it does tend to dry out more quickly resulting in fissures opening up on the surface of the wood allowing water to collect in them. If sealed, I recommend using oil based sealer which penetrates the timber and cannot peel or flake. It is then easy and inexpensive to maintain by simply cleaning it and applying more oil. The oil can be applied by brush, sponge, spray or cloth. No sanding is required. I have painted them white in the past but balau doesn’t take paint that well because of the oils and resins and may result in higher maintenance going forward.

There are more pictures available in the gallery and you can find articles on other benches we have made if you use the search bar on the top right.
The price varies from year to you. As of Feb 2014, at the time of writing, they are selling for R7, 850-00 each in balau. I wouldn’t recommend using pine as the pieces are thin in some areas and the pine contains knots which result in pieces breaking.

They are made to order and the lead time is up to 4 to 6 weeks. Courier services are available at about R1, 500-00 per bench to Gauteng. Courier rates should be obtained prior to ordering. We are based in Durban.

Please contact us on 031 – 762 1795, or use the contact us form below to get an updated price and lead time.

Outdoor Garden and Patio Furniture – Lutyens Bench

Outdoor Garden and Patio Furniture - Lutyens Bench

Click to enlarge

I was commissioned to make another outdoor Lutyens bench in balau, but this time it was to be painted white. I really battled this time around because I had misplaced the plans that were given to me on the first one I made. With the first one I made I was given the plans from the client who had ordered them online. There were not PDF plans but rather printed on A1 paper and posted to him.

Each curved piece was drawn on the plans in real size and needed to be cut out and pasted to a piece of softwood, then cut and shaped to make a template. That is then transposed to the work piece and cut leaving a 5mm or so gap on the edge and then flush trimmed using a flush trim router bit to arrive at a perfectly curved piece. They can then be re-produced quite easily and quickly.

Needless to say I lost my plans and my templates. Eventually I ordered them myself at huge cost only to find my plans when I cleaned my office out. So we started to cut all our shaped pieces. I then modified the plans slightly to make use of standard balau pieces that we use in our decking. I always have off cuts that are too small to use in decking but long enough to use in bench making, so it saves a lot of money which I can pass on to my clients in reduced selling prices. However changing the size of the pieces to make use of standard decking pieces results in some pieces changing length slightly. So now we couldn’t cut to the plans we had to work out how long various pieces needed to be to accommodate the change in thicknesses and widths of the stock we were using.

So it was a painfully slow process, but we eventually got there with our slightly modified design of our Lutyens Bench. We then quickly drew the Lutyens Bench, measured each piece and kept a note of it so that next time we know how long each piece is and we can then pre-cut all our pieces, mark them, domino or dowel them and glue the whole thing up a day or two.

The Lutyens Bench has a very distinctive design and look. It was originally designed and first built prior to 1913 by the Edwardian architect Sir Edwin Lutyens (the Dutch name is pronounced “Lut-chins”).

It has since become very popular and one can find various different styles with small changes. The back rest, together with eth arm rests, however remains pretty much original as that is what defines its unique design.

For a free no obligation quote on the Lutyens Bench or any other garden furniture, wooden decking or outdoor timber construction please feel free to contact us on 031 – 762 1795 or use the contact us form below.

Lutyens Bench – Outdoor Garden Furniture

Outdoor garden furniture

Pictured is a bench with a curved centre backrest. The benches we now make have a straight piece as the centre back rest. The curved top backrest remains as pictured.

This was a lovely job to have received. A client found me on the internet and came across some of the outdoor furniture I was making. Before I started building wooden decks I made furniture, largely outdoor picnic tables, Adirondack chairs and the like. I think I’ve mentioned it before in this blog, but it is difficult to make a decent living making furniture in South Africa. The imports that exist nowadays are so cheap and unfortunately people almost always look at price before quality.

Nevertheless, I was approached by this client and commissioned to make this bench. Lutyens Bench is a bench that was designed and first built prior to 1913 by the Edwardian architect Sir Edwin Lutyens (the Dutch name is pronounced “Lut-chins”). They have since become very popular and are very distinctive in their design as can be seen.

The client brought me the plans which he had ordered online and they had been delivered to him in full size of scale 1:1. All of the pieces came as templates and they were cut out and the pieces of MDF then cut from them. I made a few templates for the curved pieces from supawood or MDF. MDF is easy to shape as it is relatively soft and can be worked quite easily. Once I had a template I rough cut my balau slightly larger than it needed to be and then clamped the templates to the work piece and ran a flush trim router bit over it. The flush trim router bit contains a bearing at the bottom which is in line with the cutting edge. So the bearing runs along the template beneath and the cutting edge cuts the work piece above to the same shape as the template. Multiple pieces can then be cut to the exact same shape.

Outdoor garden furniture

Pictured is a bench with a curved centre backrest. The benches we now make have a straight piece as the centre back rest. The curved top backrest remains as pictured.

Once I had all my pieces cut I used a domino machine from Festool. The plans indicated dowel joints but after buying my Domino Machine years ago I don’t use anything else. A Domino Machine works in a similar way to a biscuit jointer but it cuts a long straight hole rather than the traditional round hole that the biscuit jointer cuts. A Domino made from birch is then inserted into the hole and it produces a mortise and tenon joint that is both strong an easy to cut. The birch expands slightly with the moisture of the glue so the domino fits tightly in the hole. They have grooves to allow the excess glue to squeeze out and are slightly shorter than the hole to allow them to be inserted completely. A very clever machine from Festool I must say and I am surprised that other manufacturers haven’t copied it.

The pieces went together quite well but I did battle on a few of them where I couldn’t use the Domino machine so had to use epoxy as my glue and a nail gun to hold then in place. I bumped into the client years later and the bench was still in one piece so my method must have worked.

Outdoor garden furniture

Pictured is a bench with a curved centre backrest. The benches we now make have a straight piece as the centre back rest. The curved top backrest remains as pictured.

I finished it with an outdoor timber preservative. I chose balau as my timber because it was to live outdoors and the balau holds up very well to the weather in Africa. The client had built the area you see in the picture especially for this bench. It took me a while to leave after delivering it because it all seemed to fit so perfectly together in the setting they had chosen in the garden.

For a free no obligation quote on outdoor furniture or any other timber work that you require please complete the form below and I will get in touch with you.  Or you can call us on 031 – 762 1795.