Make Cedar Planter Boxes: This planter is designed for many skills, different tools, and different ways of working. Those up to the challenge will love its subtle double taper: cut the parts square and then cut few-whiskered wood shaving to furniture standards. For a simpler version, remove the taper, enlarge the bottom panel and lengthen the cleats there. The board and batten construction of the planter accommodates both perspectives.
Use a pot inside to protect the interior from deterioration, or just fill it with dirt and accept the aging process gracefully. We made ours with certified sustainable western red cedar, a wood that is harvested responsibly and will withstand the elements outside your door.
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The good thing about this planter is that you can make it fussy or casual. Either option would result in an attractive project. Use nearly knot-free cedar, with parts carefully cut and fitted, to create a planter with clean lines and a furniture-like feel. Or, use a knotty rough cedar and with careful adjustments create a rustic planter that’s perfect for outdoor living.
For the former, you’ll need a table saw, a drill driver, and a well-tuned plane.
For a rustic planter, a jigsaw will work, and the sections can be joined with a saw instead of edges.
Creating four panels
Cut the panel pieces to length and taper one edge of each corner piece. If you have a table saw, make a tapering guide as shown in the drawing to hold the stock securely as you slide it along the saw fence . Otherwise, cut the parts with a jigsaw. Note that each panel has a tapered piece 11/16 inches. is narrower than the piece on the opposite side. It complements the thickness of the overlapping piece on the adjacent side.
To ensure panels of consistent size, build the sides of the planter on the assembly platform. Lay three-panel pieces (one straight and two tapered) on a piece of plywood using 1/8-in. spacers between them. Tie guide strips to the plywood to hold the parts in position.
Cut each cleat a hair shorter than its theoretical length and fasten it to the panel . Place the cleat 3/4 inch to allow room for the adjacent side.
Before assembling the planter, use a block plane to slightly bevel the edge of the narrow tapered piece of each panel. It should be shaded below 90 degrees. If you choose a more rustic-looking planter, skip this step. Use a band clamp and some thin wedges to hold the panels together, then drive deck screws through the top corners of the planter .
Next, bore a series of 1/16-in. Drill pilot holes along the corners of the planter and drive a finish nail into each hole. Do not drive the nail into the adjacent panel .
Remove the band clamp and screws; Apply glue to the joints. Reattach the box with screws, and finish driving the nails . Use a nail set and drive each nail head slightly below the surface so that it meets the exterior-grade wood filler. Cut the bottom three pieces and snap them into place.
Making a hat
Cut the cap pieces and use pilot holes for the finish nails to hold them together. Place the pilot holes well away from where the peas will be harvested. Glue and nail the pieces together .
Cut miters on each L-shaped piece and dry-fit the cap using a band clamp so that you are drilling pilot holes for the nails . Remove the clamp, apply glue to the miters, re-clamp, and fasten the cap assembly together.
Next, use a block plane and lightly skim the cleat tops to create a level surface. Position the cap with an even overhang, and drill pilot holes in the cleats. Remove the cap, apply glue to the cleats and nail the cap . After the glue dries, set the nail heads and apply wood filler. Sand all surfaces with 120- and 220-grit aluminum oxide paper.
How long will a cedar planter box last?
Thanks to its bacterial- and rot-resistance and natural oils, a cedar planter box can last upwards of 10-15 years with proper care. During this time, you’ll likely need to replace a few worn-out liners and refresh the planter with new soil to keep it looking its best.
Do cedar planter boxes need drainage holes?
All planters, whether wood, ceramic, or plastic, should have drainage holes so the soil remains well drained. This means plant roots can get enough air and don’t get waterlogged. Drainage holes are also needed to stop the mineral build-up in the planter, which could also harm plants.