For container growers, a few woodworking skills can be very handy. Wood is an attractive and natural material to grow in, it can be cut to fit the exact size of any space, helping you to get the most out of every inch. You can make containers as deep or shallow as you like. Wood is also the perfect material to make shelves, ladders and other structures so that you can grow more in a small space.
Professional joiner, Benni Benson, shows you step by step how to make a simple container. Along the way she shows you all the basic carpentry skills (like marking up), and how to use the different tools. She also shares tricks of the trade that will save you time and frustration – and even quite experienced woodworkers will probably pick up some useful tips (I know I did!).
Your downloadable notes
You can download a summary of the main points made in the videos here.
Reading the notes might be a good place to start, and then watch the videos to fill in the detail.
The notes also contain more detail on wood preservers and a few ideas on how to add a water reservoir to a wooden container.
The benefits of using wood.
Where to find wood – including low cost options
Essential tools – and where you can buy / find them.
How to inspect wood and use a square
Preparing to make a container
How to inspect wood, and identify defects.
How to mark up using a square.
How to use a tenon saw
How to hold and cut with a tenon saw – and why you should leave the line on.
Scoring the wood with a Stanley knife to make cutting easier.
How to check your cut is square.
How to use a handsaw
How to use a handsaw, including how to use a chair to cut on, and how to use a folding workbench to cut on.
The difference between a tenon saw and hand saw cut.
Making a mock up
Why it’s useful to make a mock up.
Fixing the corners of a container with blocks.
Hiding the joints by putting the long lengths at the front.
How to measure up for a square container.
Choosing the right screws
What gauge (width), length and type of screw you need.
What size hole you should drill for your screws.
How to mark out screw holes
How and where to mark up screw holes
Using a template to cut equal sized blocks (and why you should mark it with a T!)
Why your screws should run from the thinner piece of wood into the thicker piece.
Using a drill and countersink
How to use an electric and hand drill – and how to secure your wood to drill it safely.
Using a countersink – and how to make the countersink the right size.
How to glue and use a screwdriver
Tips on glueing (and preventing glue bottles drying up!).
Choosing and using the right size screwdriver
Putting the box together
Bracing your container bits to make final construction easier.
Putting one screw in at a time to make adjustments easier.
Adding the base
Adding a base of wooden struts.
Or using corrugated plastic eg estate agents sign.
Tips for preserving wood
Which bits of wood are most vulnerable to rot?
Lining containers with plastic
Safe wood preservers to use in food growing.
Tips to make your own growing ladder
Growing ladders are a good solution to create more growing space – and to help your crops reach more sun. In this video Benni shows you some tips on how to work out and cut the angles – the hardest bit about making ladders.