Nakashima Inspired Bench

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Project by djg posted 10-01-2015 11:40 AM 11175 views 8 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have been holding onto a couple of peices of live edge oak crotch for some time in hopes that it would “speak” to me. It was originally destined for firewood. One day I decided it looked like a bench top. I happen to have some walnut on hand so I started. I never work from plans but I do create a rough drawing before I start. I took a lot of time to grain match the walnut panels. the matchlines are almost invisible. The bottom stretcher is joined to the panels using hand cut bridle joints. Dutchmen in the surface stabilize 6 checks in the slab. the keys were hand made and were fitted by hand. THe waste was hogged out using a funny miniature version of the large veritas router plane. The plane looks like a joke but I use it regularly for this kind of stuff. I felt that the end grain looked funny so I added the stippling effect using a carving gouge. THis took alot of work! It actually takes alot of work to make the patern look somewhat random. The top is joined to the undercarriage using housed sliding dovetails which also serve to keep the benchtop flat if it ever should warp. Spray finished, rubbed out, waxed…as smooth as butter. I am quite pleased with the way it turned out. Hope you like it.

-- DJG

15 comments so far

View LoganN's profile


489 posts in 3147 days

#1 posted 10-01-2015 11:56 AM

It looks fantastic! I love the stippling that you did on the end. That really adds to the character of the piece

View djg's profile


160 posts in 3409 days

#2 posted 10-01-2015 12:14 PM


the stippling took a long time. hundreds of stipples on each of 3 endgrain cuts arranged in a random pattern was not as easy as it seemed initially…after the whole thing was done, I looked over the surface and in some places I could see patterns but went back over and carved some of the stipples bigger than others to make the pattern a little more random. I am pleased with the result. Thanks for the commentary!

-- DJG

View Dust_Maker's profile


66 posts in 3567 days

#3 posted 10-01-2015 02:58 PM

The stippling drew my eye too. It adds a tastefully unique touch to a piece that was already well done. Thanks for sharing.

-- Jonathan 2Cor. 4:6

View SteveGaskins's profile


762 posts in 3834 days

#4 posted 10-01-2015 04:26 PM

Absolutely beautiful. Very nice design and build.

-- Steve, South Carolina,

View JimYoung's profile


426 posts in 2834 days

#5 posted 10-01-2015 04:35 PM

Beautiful work. I’m inspired to try a live edge piece in the future.

-- -Jim, "Nothing says poor craftsmanship more than wrinkles in your duck tape"

View blockhead's profile


1475 posts in 4555 days

#6 posted 10-01-2015 05:42 PM

As well you should be pleased with it. I love the smooth, clean lines of the base and how it plays against the live edge and stippled ends (fantastic idea BTW) of the top. Beautiful piece of work!

-- Brad, Oregon- The things that come to those who wait, may be the things left by those who got there first.

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4113 days

#7 posted 10-01-2015 07:58 PM

You did a beautiful job on this bench.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View bobasaurus's profile


3735 posts in 4431 days

#8 posted 10-01-2015 08:57 PM

Very well done. Do you have a picture of the sliding dovetails on the bottom?

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View Randy_ATX's profile


881 posts in 3689 days

#9 posted 10-01-2015 09:23 PM

Very nice!

-- Randy -- Austin, TX by way of Northwest (Woodville), OH

View Zaphod07's profile


69 posts in 2473 days

#10 posted 10-01-2015 10:45 PM

Very nice just like logan said I like the stippling on the end. I am going to steal this for me….

View Mean_Dean's profile


7057 posts in 4394 days

#11 posted 10-01-2015 11:48 PM

I definitely like it—it’s a beautiful bench!

I too like the stippling, as it adds a very unique look to the endgrain. I wonder if a ball-peen hammer would achieve something similar?

All-in-all, a bench you should be proud to have in your home!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3937 days

#12 posted 10-01-2015 11:58 PM

Very nice! Love the crotch figure and the bowties. The stippling adds a nice look to the end grain. Worth the extra work.

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

View Chris McDowell's profile

Chris McDowell

645 posts in 3399 days

#13 posted 10-02-2015 09:57 AM

Beautiful. I really like the stippling in the end grain. Nice work.

-- Chris, , FACEBOOK: , Proverbs 16:9

View papajon's profile


54 posts in 3058 days

#14 posted 10-02-2015 04:29 PM

beautiful work! The stippling is fantastic!

View djg's profile


160 posts in 3409 days

#15 posted 10-02-2015 04:44 PM

My take home message: everybody likes the bench and stippling is good!

So I did some stippling on a set of lamps that I built some time ago and it added a nice feature. On that lamp, the stippling was done by dabbing a round rotary tool burr on the surface randomly. I thought that here the contrast would be nice but I didn’t have an appropriately sized burr. Using a gouge is surprisingly easy when it is mirror sharp. it cuts through oak like butter and each stipple shines after cutting with the gouge…no sanding required. I am no longer intimidated with using a carving gouge for these random patterns. Infact, I think I am going to invest in a cabinet makers carving set for doing other profiles. some carving adds a nice custom touch to a peice of furniture

thanks again for the kind remarks!

-- DJG

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