Rustic bench

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Project by BillG posted 10-10-2014 01:37 PM 2509 views 9 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have always like live edge pieces. A few years ago, I took down a large maple with a nice crotch in it, along with a hickory and a white oak. I had them sawn into boards and planks. The maple turned out to be mildly infested with the ambrosia beetle. This produces a maple with beetle holes and stained grain around the holes created by a bacteria in the holes left by the beetle.

After sitting for five years in my lumber shed, I built this bench using a crotch slab for the top and hickory for the legs and stretchers. The natural edge was kept on the slab and the outer bark removed. I sawed the hickory into the basic components for the support pieces and did the turning for the leg and stretcher tenons on the lathe. The final shaping was done with a draw knife and spoke shave to give a hewn appearance to the components.

I used a chestnut brown stain on the entire bench and then re-sanded the top surface of the bench. I left the top unstained, to provide a contrast and accentuate the grain and beetle tracks as well as the cocobolo key inserted into the split in the crotch.

The finish is a wash coat of amber shellac followed by several coats of General finishes “Enduro-Var” a water based varnish. I think this is currently one of the better water based finishes available today. I have used both the brush-on and the spray finishes with excellent success.

-- Bill G - West Springfield, MA

7 comments so far

View crossfacecraddle's profile


131 posts in 2899 days

#1 posted 10-10-2014 06:11 PM

I have definitely got to make one like this, very very nice. The parts I like the best are the dovetail piece across the inclusion and how you hand hewed the legs and structural members after completing your joinery.

-- i love the smell of sawdust in the morning, it smells like victory. John

View ex-member's profile


184 posts in 3063 days

#2 posted 10-10-2014 06:27 PM

Really nice. I love the Dutchman…love the legs…really well done. Heh…you say “rustic” there is nothing rustic about this bench.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3978 days

#3 posted 10-11-2014 01:25 AM

Love the design.
Love the bowtie.
Love the joinery.
Love the wood choices.
Not sure about the stain :)

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View ElChe's profile


630 posts in 2624 days

#4 posted 10-11-2014 02:10 AM

The bench looks like it breathes. So lively. Great work.

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

View steliart's profile


2895 posts in 3976 days

#5 posted 10-12-2014 07:12 PM

nice !!!

-- Stelios L.A. Stavrinides: - I am not so rich to buy cheap tools, but... necessity is the mother of inventions !!!

View Gibernak's profile


124 posts in 3134 days

#6 posted 10-13-2014 06:50 PM

I really like it, its very rustic and beautiful. great work, thanks for sharing.

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 3464 days

#7 posted 10-14-2014 08:50 PM

I like the rustic look. No way will I be able to make something like this.

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