My work/assembly bench

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Blog entry by Belford posted 02-05-2017 02:28 AM 1127 reads 1 time favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The top is obviously Walnut with Maple inlay. The bottom/frame and panels are American elm, that a friend (who owned a saw mill) and I rescued from the city landfill. The city cut down many Elm trees to try stop Dutch Elm . disease, and refused to let woodworkers have the wood; even though the Elm Bark Beetle infests the bark and not the wood. In any case we removed the bark under the light of a full moon at the landfill. At my friends sawmill we squared the logs, then burned the outside slabs, just in case.

We cut enough lumber to make two workbenches, then stickered the lumber for three years. My friend died before we could make both benches so I used the Elm to make one bench. Which as it turned out was barely enough to make one bench, because the Elm twisted, cupped, warped and did everything but stand still.
Even after three years it was still moving. As I was making the bench I could actually hear the wood move. All the panels are floating panels to allow for movement.

That was 12 years ago and some of the Elm still moves to this day. Its moisture content is between 12 and 36 percent depending where it is tested. The diamond shaped inlay is Walnut and has fallen out twice (although glued) because of wood movement.

Some people say I shouldn’t have used Walnut as the top surface. I say why not? It looks nice and I like it. And yes, it does now have several cuts, scratches and dents.

My less then brilliant son in law thinks he has dibs on it when I fall off the twig. He wants it for a kitchen Island. I told him to forget it because he might get Dutch Elm. disease in his sandwich.

3 comments so far

View BurlyBob's profile


10765 posts in 3757 days

#1 posted 02-05-2017 03:27 AM

That is just flat out beautiful. That would look real good in my Man Cave as a bar. I know I wouldn’t get Dutch Elm disease have a beer on it.

View Rich's profile


8264 posts in 2081 days

#2 posted 02-05-2017 05:04 AM

Holy cow. Everything about that is as beautiful as can be. Honestly, I’m thankful I don’t have that in my shop because I’d refuse to do any work on it. It’s just too nice to touch.

Great work. I mean that.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View SpartyOn's profile


87 posts in 3638 days

#3 posted 02-05-2017 04:04 PM

That is one beautiful workbench! I’m with Rich Taylor, I would be afraid to use it:)

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