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I purchased a park bench for my patio

enter image description here

But it's a little on the flimsy side and I'm afraid someone is going to throw themselves down on it and it's going to break. In what way can I strengthen the bench and possibly increase the weight capacity? The arms are cast iron and the bench has wooden slats. I was thinking of purchasing thicker wood and having it cut into slats but I'm not sure if that would really be the best way to do it.

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Thicker slats will make it feel sturdier, but if you need to rabbet the ends to fit into the cast iron, you may be gaining little or nothing as far as ultimate strength. –  bcworkz Mar 31 '13 at 18:08
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Is the flimsy nature of the bench limited to just a springiness of the bench seat slats? Or is there a tendency for the bench to rim rack from side to side? –  Michael Karas Apr 1 '13 at 11:52
    
Maybe try a dense hardwood like Ipé for the slats. –  decker Apr 3 '13 at 8:33
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1 Answer

One way you may be able to lower the amount of springiness in the seat slats is to add some hardwood strips to the bottom of each slat. These could be attached with sturdy wood screws similar to as shown below. These can be added as long as possible but just short of the current slat mounting to the cast iron frame.

enter image description here

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The i-Beam or strongback will definitely strengthen. Even a couple of front to back slats screwed from the underside will help distribute the load, like joist cross bracing. The downside would be water accumulation. –  HerrBag Apr 1 '13 at 17:53
    
@HerrBag - Yeah, I had thought of the front to back slats but the curved profile of the seat section would mean putting such slat on edge and trying to special cut the edge to match the curved profile. In the end the Tee beam construction seemed like a more effective solution. –  Michael Karas Apr 1 '13 at 20:29
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