Assembly & Planting Guides
First, take a deep breath and relax. This is not a race, so take your time and do it well. Be safe, be careful, and use your common sense while you enjoy this creative process. If you follow these simple steps in order, the assembly and planting will be easier and well done. It will save you time and effort as well as insuring the best quality.These same steps apply to all three models of the ViewFinder™ bench; the VF4 and VF6 with two posts each, and the VF8 which has three posts.
*click on any photo to enlarge
Some Helpful Hints:
- Tools needed:
- electric drill with a Philips screwdriver bit and 3/16" drill bit
- 9/16" wrench
- shovel and a pick
- It is also handy to have a hammer available for tapping parts into position before setting the screws.
- There is a hole pre-drilled for every screw and clear markings for positioning of each part for easy and accurate assembly.
- Use a concrete pad or other flat surface for assembly.
- Unfinished lumber is a natural fibrous product that is constantly in motion from temperature and moisture variations, as well as the tensions between the more dense and less dense fibers. Words like straight, flat, and square (in the strict sense) may not be applicable. Compromise and common sense will be the best way to deal with natural variations.
- Always try to pull screw heads just 1/8" below the surface for maximum strength.
- Stripped screws happen. This is when a screw is fully seated, yet it can spin freely. It must be replaced for maximum strength. Remove it and drill a new hole (3/16" bit) close by and try it again.
- There are many tricks to digging a hole and then firmly compacting the back-fill. Ask your neighbors about the best tools and techniques for your soils.
- Unwrap and remove all packaging materials. Be careful of anything that could be sharp or splintery. Lay all the parts out and take inventory.
VF4 VF6 VF8 Posts 2 2 3 Left Saddle 1 1 1 Right Saddle 1 1 1 Center Saddle - - 1 Seat Planks 3 3 3 Back Planks 2 2 2 Plugs 2 2 3 5" Lag Screws 2 2 3 2 ½" Screws 32 32 54
- Position the SADDLE ASSEMBLY (right, left or center) with the POST as shown. Be sure the correct side is facing up. Using the 9/16" wrench, attach firmly with the 5" LAG SCREW and WASHER through the POST as shown.
- Line up the side markings on the POST with the underside of the SADDLE to make sure it goes on straight. Set two 2 1/2" SCREWS on each side.
- Center and seat the PLUG in the SADDLE as shown and attach with one 2 1/2" SCREW.
- Lay out the POSTS/SADDLE/PLUG ASSEMBLIES pointing down as shown, spreading them apart to the length of the STABILIZER. IMPORTANT: Make sure that the WINGS (the part of the SADDLE that will screw directly to the SEAT PLANKS) of either the RIGHT or LEFT SADDLE face out, or away from each other. Position the STABILIZER according to the marking on the POSTS and set one 2 1/2" SCREW at each POST. Then check and adjust the square before setting the second 2 1/2" SCREW at each POST.
- The VF8 has three POSTS. Position and square the POST/CENTER SADDLE ASSEMBLY in the middle according to the markings on the STABILIZER.
- Carefully turn it over so the STABILIZER is now on the bottom and the SADDLES are pointing up. Position and center the LOWER BACK PLANK according to the markings. Check and adjust the square as necessary and attach with two 2 1/2" SCREWS at each POST.
- Line up the edges nicely and press together the UPPER BACK PLANK and attach with two 2 1/2" SCREWS at each POST. Note that the top drill holes are angled at 45 degrees.
- Lay the REAR SEAT PLANK in position according to its markings. It should be resting on top of the PLUG. Check the line up with the BACK PLANKS. Attach it with two 2 1/2" SCREWS through the bottom of the WINGS from each SADDLE as shown. To make it easier to set these SCREWS, have a friend hold it in place or clamp it.
- Line up the edges and press together the MIDDLE SEAT PLANK and the FRONT SEAT PLANK and attach them in the same manor.
- Now it's ready to go to the site for planting.
PlantingSAFETY CAUTION: AVOID ANY UNDERGROUND PLUMBING OR WIRES.
IF THERE ARE ANY QUESTIONS, HAVE A LOCATOR CHECK IT.
- Lay the bench in position to space the holes. Dig the POST holes 18" deep and 15-20" wide with a 10" deep channel between for the STABILIZER. This allows room to shift and adjust the position the bench as needed.
- Carefully place the bench in the hole. Make sure that the RED GRADE HEIGHT MARKINGS are below the desired finished grade height at this point. Add a few shovels of soil and roughly position the bench.
- Rocking the bench back-and-forth allows soil to fall under the POSTS causing the bench to rise slowly, like a winch. Add more soil and, in that way, raise the RED GRADE HEIGHT MARKINGS to the desired finished grade height. Do not raise it too high! It's much more difficult to lower it. Check and adjust the side-to-side level.
NOTE: The RED GRADE HEIGHT MARKINGS are a reference when planting your bench on a level ground. If the bench is being planted on an incline, check and be sure the front edge of the seat is about 15-17" above the grade. The RED GRADE HEIGHT MARKINGS might have to be placed lower to accommodate this.
- To make sure the bench is comfortable, it is very important to get the right angle front-to-back. It's easy to get it right, just set your level between the front edge of the FRONT SEAT PLANK and the top of the PLUG. When this reads level, you got it right.
- Add some more soil and begin firmly compacting it in layers as you go. The blunt end of a shovel or rake handle makes a good tool. Consider wetting the soil to help compact it. Make adjustments as necessary to the level, side-to-side and front-to-back. Once the hole is filled and the soil is firmly compacted, further adjustments to the level will not be possible. You bench will be planted "Sturdy as a Stump".
NOTE: If the soil cannot be firmly compacted, you might consider using concrete to plant your bench. We recommend about 40 lbs. of concrete per post. Make sure the bench is correctly positioned and braced before pouring the concrete.
- Sand off anything that might be rough, splintery or scratchy. Check along the edges to be sure it's all nice and smooth. Sanding will also remove any unwanted lumber marks or stains and it brightens the redwood colors. Start with coarse grit and end with medium or fine grit.
- Follow the manufacturer's instructions for the finish you select. Normally, we recommend premium deck stains for the redwood only. For a high finish, try two coats of urethane varnish with a steel wool rubdown in between. Nice!
- Enjoy. This is the part that lasts.