Prototype bench on Seguin Island

We thought we discovered an ingenious design when we were caretaking Seguin Island in 2008.  There was an unpretentious, very comfortable, little grey bench down by the cove.  I don’t know when it was built or by whom.  On the west side of the island was a platform with an Adirondack chair on it and it was one of the best places to watch the sun set.  But with only one chair, we had to take turns.  And when families visited the island, one person would get the chair and everyone else would sit on the platform or rocks around it.

Seguin Island Sunset bench

So we decided to make a bench for it.  I painstakingly copied the dimensions and angles of the bench by the cove.  Then on rainy days, we stayed inside in the whistle house where the work shop was located and played with all the power tools and built a bench.  And it was good.  Now we could both enjoy the beautiful sunsets with even room to spare to balance a glass.  When families went to the platform, 2-3 people could sit on the bench and enjoy the view.

When we were on Deal Island, we tried to think of a project we could leave on the island.  We didn’t have power tools and had to salvage lumber and bolts.  I had the design details with me and we went to work building another bench.  We thought about where it would go and decided to place it in a corner with good cell phone and internet reception for visitors and us.  The only problem was that corner was at the switchback, or zigzag in New Zealand, of a steep hill.  We had time, so we played around with the geometry and built a level bench with four different length legs.

Deal Island bench on the only place it's level

Deal Island bench on level land

Imagine my surprise when we got back home and learned my friend Bethany has several of the same bench!  It was designed by Aldo Leopold, environmentalist and author of Sand County Almanac, “There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot. These essays are the delights and dilemmas of one who cannot,”  How fitting.  Now we have to decide if we want to build a bench, lean-to or log cabin on our property.  There are plans for the bench on an Environmental Protection Agency site.  I didn’t see log cabin plans though.

One thought on “Benched

  1. The wood we scrounged up on Deal Is was beautiful red gum, I believe. Hard as a rock. Unfortunately, I had only a dull hand saw (no power saws allowed, given our remote location). It took forever to cut the wood but was well worth it.


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