Prowell's Custom Wood Outdoor Benches and Swings
prowell woodworks





Prowell's Custom Wood Front Porch Swing and Outdoor Garden Benches.

he full suite of Prowell's offerings are developed with a recognizable style and methodology that might be looked upon as an aesthetic keystone to your overall landscape. Your designer's eye grounded by the introduction of a few succinct elements we might consider the jeweler's milestone.

Introducing our Custom Wood Garden Bench to an appropriate setting becomes the radius from which successive decisions are made.  A cornerstone has been established.  The surrounding vicinity is approached to compliment the Outdoor Garden Bench without the Bench itself upstaging the supporting landscape.

A similar approach to the Custom Wood Front Porch Swing, where we establish both a sense of workmanship and physical poetry to the featured approach, but also the connotations of leisure and conversation associated with porches ans swings.

And then this:

Any Outdoor Wood Furniture exposed to the elements, whether on your porch or within your landscape, is going to expand and contract at a much greater degree than those furnishings inside the insulated conditions of your home. It is going to be exposed in a way unlike your front door, or the siding on your house, or the planking on your deck--none of which is exposed to 360-degrees of nature. If for no other reason, this constant dimensional shift of the wood requires a methodology other than screws and bolts. As the wood shrinks, you see, the screwhole expands and the threads lose their grip. When you sit on the bench, shifting your weight, the screw / bolt has room to wiggle and with each wiggle the widening hole grows wider. You replace the screws and bolts with longer or larger screws and it holds tight until the following season when the wood shrinks again and the process begins anew.

There are principles of construction required for the structural integrity of outdoor furniture intended to last interminably. Those principals involve joinery, which involves understanding those principles, which traditionally involves an apprenticeship that requires slightly longer than a weekend. More like years, or in Charles' case, and Ben's, decades. Learning the multitude of joints and how to cut them perfectly and snugly, and learning which of those joints is best suited for any given application and from there, innovating new joints not found in any manual, anywhere.

Principles that apply to outdoor benches and swings, but also to virtually every product offered by Prowell Woodworks. And how a garden gate requires a different joint than a fence panel or a pergola or an arbor or even the post caps.

You see, it goes far beyond the designer's eye, which we'll add requires the same decades-long apprenticeship as does the workmanship. The design itself is apparent-- it's aesthetic appeal to you and your neighbors and all those who encounter a first impression of these products--whereas the joinery responsible for that work surviving as an inheritance to your heirs remains unseen. Invisible. Easily fudged by supplanting this art with a few store-bought screws and screw gun.

Let's pretend you've managed to corner Charles, or Ben, and in the hard-hitting conversation over a cup of tea, you ask:

--So is there anything that robs you of sleep at night?
--When someone calls to inform me they have come across our recognizable work in Atlanta or Pittsburgh or Vermont and how, sadly, it is not holding up. It is, in fact, appearing rather shabby. We ask for an address, or a street, and check the database to learn no such work was commissioned at such an address and how the work has been compromised by a 3rd party replication. How the mimicked design falls apart and to others, such as the caller in question, assumes it is ours and equally associates this with an unwarranted reputation. Works that fall apart. This, oddly, robs me of sleep.

Design is important. Design is the result of talent, education, apprenticeship, and experience and when it works, we have the likes of the Golden Gate Bridge or the Chrysler Building or a power plant dam tucked deep into the north fork of the Feather River designed by someone employed in 1934 by the New Deal's WPA with little expectation of it being seen and appreciated. Good design is good art and good art is beauty and the impact of beauty cannot be discounted.

But we often overlook the engineers and workman responsible for building the bridge or highrise or power dam, and the principles they employ to insure that the Golden Gate Bridge performs for generations thereafter.

--So that's it? That's the only worry you have that might keep you up at night?
--Sleep comes easy and quick. You're exhausted. You've put in a day of being absorbed from start to finish, like any day, and sleep is like spilled molasses; it starts with your legs, spreading up the length of your legs until your legs are numb and then your chest until your chest is numb and then your arms and all the while the brain is more or less waiting its turn, waiting for the inevitable with no intention of resisting the inevitable and when it comes, when the molasses spreads, the brain has emptied itself with a readiness to go nightie night.

Finally, every product is accompanied by a stamp authenticating the work
. The actual location of that stamp varies as per the year it was built.

prowell garden bench




custom wood benches and porch swings

Prowell's Custom Wood Garden Benches and Wood Porch Swings represent the benchmark for both design and structural integrity.

Aesthetically similar, these two cousins are distinguished by only a few subtle details, making for a complimentary match between the porch and the garden

Available in Cedar or Mahogany

Shipping 84% off standard UPS Freight rates to all 50 states.


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wood benches for the arden

Late in the summer we would sit on the back porch of our sprawling old farmhouse, fanning ourselves, talking. From the barn a hundred yards off the pet Palomino we called simply Horse would make a noise, followed a moment later by an answer from our one milk cow we called simply Cow and that in turn followed the sounds of our two pet sows we called simply Pig #1 and Pig #2.

Countless evenings passed like this. Mother standing over a chair with bobby pins between her lips setting curlers in my oldest sister's hair and me on the far porch swing with Aunt Dee and my middle sister in the opposite swing with Aunt Bim and if it was Saturday night my great grandmother Ma would be inside at the television, smoking her pipe drawn from an old tin of pipes, yelling at the ref for missing an infraction, an illegal full nelson by a wrestler in a cowboy hat.

At the porch my father standing with his trousers hiked up over his boots, staring into the changing light as the sun dropped down behind Kickapoo Ridge a mile off and every so often flicking the screen to send a fat clinging June Bug somersaulting back toward the yard. Back where it belongs with the fireflies and mosquitoes and those black flies big enough to choke on.

Uneventful is what mostly comes to mind. The sound of the chains riding against the swing hooks on the ceiling and Cow and Horse and Pigs talking in the barn and ten thousand crickets in a cricket-symphony along the river punctuated by a holler from the living room and Aunt Dee making funny sounds to mimic a good scalp scrubbing while running her fingers through my hair as I leafed a photo book of Civil War Battles. From the opposite swing Aunt Bim grazes her open palm along my middle sister's arm as she leafed through one of her horse books and when she found something she liked Bim would nod and because she ran the Alterations shop in town, yet another likeness of yet another horse photograph would show up embroidered on yet another one of my middle sister's identical white blouses.

At some point we would be rewarded with a breeze. It would come up slowly once the sky had gone from blue to blood red to a fluctuating purple hanging off the horizon over the ridge like a changing kaleidoscope. Working its way down off the Kickapoo gorge and along the river to carry over the lower dell and up the rise of the lawn and onto the screened-in back porch to graze our cheeks with the relief of a swamp cooler. We would turn collectively toward the canopy of cottonwoods along the river, turn head-on toward the breeze as darkness settled in and as a lone car might approach the bridge from Given's Corner, creeping up onto the elevated bridegboards and then the clap of the loose oak planks before dipping back down onto the roadbed with the headlights bobbing to the sound of shifting gravel and if I remember any one of those hundreds of identical summer evenings it would be when we first heard proof of the albino's voice. Singing up off the river, lifting out from the cover of the thicket and the canopy of cottonwoods and sycamores to wend its way up over the lower pasture like the Messiah. A clear, sustained medley of alternating octaves that silenced the crickets and the bullfrogs and had us all on our feet, pressed to the screen, knowing for the first time how it was more than a mere rumor, more than fanciful exaggerations appearing sporadically over the past 185 years in the hand-written planting logs stashed in the attics of every single one of the forty-seven farms situated along southern Illinois' Salt Fork River.

Although I can't say what the others were thinking, I myself imagined running down to the river, in the dark, barefoot over Slave Hill and through the cool basketgrass below and along a riverbank pocked with snakeholes to rout the legend from the thicket and lock it into a full nelson and drag it up into civilization, into the light of the moon and thereby, at eleven years old, accomplishing something magnificent. Something legendary.


In the the sprawling attic of that farmhouse--this farmhouse now, and then--the original hand-scripted Planting Logs are arranged in nine bound volumes behind the glass of a barrister's bookcase that once belonged to our founding ancestors Wrestling and Chastity Pond. At the head of a giant featherbed wedged among the bearueas and furnishings shoved carelessly into the far corner like the overflow in a museum of semi-collectible art. Amassed with each passing generation of the Pond family since Chastity and Wrestling Pond escaped the Puritan settlement in southern New Hampshire in 1789 to lead a pilgrimage over the White Mountains to cross the Connecticut River and over the Green Mountains to cross the Hudson River and over the Adirondacks to make west across the flat open plane of the Ohio Valley toward the southernmost tip of the newly opened Northwest Territories. On the strength of a rumor. Desperate, apparently, for a less rigid, less Puritanical doctrine ultimately in this rumored valley nestled between the Ohio and the Wabash and the Cumberland and flanked beyond the valley's western perimeter, the girth of the Mississippi. All of it draining collectively into this long meadow, the Salt Fork Valley, with its stands of scattered sycamore and cottonwoods and swaths of spring wildflowers sprouting from a black fertile topsoil that ran ten-foot deep, harbored to the east by the gentle elevations of Big Ridge Rise and to the west by the more dramatic highland peaks of Kickapoo Ridge. They built forty-seven cabins along the Salt Fork River and a proud church utterly free of embellishments or architectural definitions where, as former Puritans and Amish we were redefined as something they called Anabaptists that allowed us to bath naked in the river and sing in the evenings from the flanks of our crude front porches the same gospels we sing today.

Although the planting logs were maintained by everyone and inherited by the succeeding generations of each of our neighboring farms, so many of the others never bothered to summon the patience demanded by scripts that were often awkward and nearly illegible and read with the halting comprehension of those who considered the written word as something akin to Godliness, whereas others, such as the first native-born Pond, True Pond, whose entries for thirty-six years displayed the flourishing fluid swoops of a buoyant personality made more so by his marriage to Acceptance who, given his occasional wandering tangents into the realms of love and, well . . .pornography, clearly influenced his contributions for those logs penned between 1832 and 1868. (It should be noted that while his calligraphic flourish I so admired was replaced abruptly in 1841 by the painfully tight script of his left hand following the loss of his entire right arm in the thresher that survives today beyond the barn lost in a tangle of ancient bracklebush.








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©1996-Present Charles and Ben Prowell.
This Web Site was launched in the Spring of 1996.

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Unless otherwise noted, products appearing on this site are the sole design rights of Charles & Ben Prowell.