The Overseer’s Throne: Like the Alarm-Clock Bed – But Not!

“Avengers assemble!”

Sorry, meant to type “get all the bits and pieces ready to – eventually – start work on the pallets-into-bench project!”

See, I was never any good at following plans (except those for Air fix model planes that always started “glue the pilot (Fig A, part 1) to the seat (part 2)) and I am not exactly famous for reading instructions for, for example Scandinavian self-assembly furniture. Much to the Plantation Owner’s Wife’s disgust and the exasperation of our daughters.

So, I think I’m best with a stack of random material and an idea. Just a concept mind. Then I begin work and evaluate and adapt to whatever is happening in front of me. Think eccentric illustrator Heath-Robinson meets inventor Theosophilus Carter* and Tony Stark after watching repeats of Nick Park’s Wallace and Grommit.

Image result for wallace and gromit  Image result for heath robinson garden

Somehow it helps if the material is free and I have time and sunshine. So the plasterboard pallets recently scrounged were a real bonus. They fulfilled the original purpose of edging the wildflower segment of our allotment. But then a second hand park bench style seat donated by a relative is getting very shaky. So shaky indeed that we never risk sitting on it in case we have to get up off the ground.

And I had this vague idea of replacing the timber slats. Just undoing the bolts, cutting some new ones from scavenged timber and replacing ‘em. But when I came to try it the nuts had inconveniently but unsurprisingly rusted on to the bolts. Refused to be shifted. Of course I could have got the angle grinder out …

But divergent thinking to the rescue. Make an entire new bench from the pallets. These are proper pallets: sturdy 4” X2” timbers between 6” X 1” planking**. Softwood of course but mostly smooth planed.



Just a vague plan in my head I began. I used the original piece from the park bench to get a width then cut and changed bits and pieces. A tape measure bought for me by one of our daughters (it still has the “Hello Dad!” tag on the useful post –it section) came in useful _ I confess that in the past, carried away with things I have used string to measure things! The answer to the unanswerable question (given to me by a builder down the years):

“How long is a piece of string?”

“Double the distance from the middle to one end – of course!”

I also decided to hang the expense and purchase new coach bolts for safety. But arriving at Screw-Fix I didn’t have enough money – who knew that thirty plus bolts, nuts and washers would come to more than ten pounds, a barley sugar and a spent AA battery?

But eventually things come together. Not always smoothly. But a tweak here, a change of plan there. Like the addition of arms: there were simply enough pieces of timber around begging to be used (“We would make great arms,” they were saying, “please use us!” – luckily I speak Softwood, so understood). I made the necessary cuts, held the pieces where I wanted them to go and drilled the holes for the bolts, so much better than measuring and setting up. Adds to the rustic charm – or am I kidding myself?


Oh and while I’m at it I add extra wide arms so that each of us will have somewhere to rest a mug of tea!

DSC03305 DSC03297

With everyone in the garden spying on progress Frankenpallet’s bench eventually saw the light. Bulkier than I had at first conceived but really secure – and – er – it will fit into the dedicated alcove in the hedge up on site.

Won’t it?




*Not only believed to be the inspiration for The Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland but also the inventor of the Alarm-Clock Bed that was on show at the Great Exhibition in 1851.

** A lot of cargo pallets, being disposable have only single wooden blocks or compressed wood dust separators. Which we use as fuel  for our fire-pit. One evening, drinking wines and beers by the fire a guest asked whether the tings actually burned. So we duly stuck one on. This one didn’t actually burst into flames, but it glowed intensely – and next morning was still intact until poked with a stick. At which point it disintegrated into orange dust like some artefact from the planet Mars. In honour of said guest we now know these blocks as “Lesleys”.


One response to this post.

  1. Excellent!


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