Walnut bench for kitchen table

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Project by Tim Christensen posted 11-23-2016 03:08 PM 2170 views 8 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

We recently purchased a new kitchen table and my wife wanted a farm bench to go with it. I am very lucky to have a great uncle that had some walnut from my great grandparents farm stored in the back of his shed. The last picture is what it looked like when I got it home.

This is my first attempt at hand cut dove tails and I decided to make the jig pictured to help! I embedded magnets in it to help hold the saw close to the jig. It worked great. I wanted to challenge myself and not use any screws or nails, and I am pretty proud with how it turned out.

Also my first attempt at bow tie splines. It had a few checks to deal with and I decided to go with birdseye maple for those to give a little contrast. My wife wasn’t a big fan of those, but you can’t please everyone!

I went with danish oil for the finish which was also a first. I really like the feel and color of the finish, but I wished it had a little more shine. I am a beekeeper so I am thinking about making a beeswax/mineral oil polish and see what that does. I kind of want to stay away from poly just because I want something different!

Thanks for looking!

-- Tim C., Sgt. Bluff, Iowa.

9 comments so far

View jayseedub's profile


139 posts in 2608 days

#1 posted 11-23-2016 03:18 PM

Beautifully done—and quite a commitment for your first hand-cut dovetails! It turned out perfectly, and I think the choice for the maple bowties is spot-on.

View gargey's profile


1013 posts in 1418 days

#2 posted 11-23-2016 04:18 PM

I think people are getting carried away with the butterfly keys.

There are situations where they are needed, and they can be very distracting if overused or intentionally accentuated.

Very nice bench otherwise.

View Ted78's profile


407 posts in 2643 days

#3 posted 11-23-2016 05:24 PM

Nice bench. The butterfly keys are REALLY popular right now, but I really like the execution of them in this bench, and they make both structural, and aesthetic sense they way they are used here. I have seen other places where in an otherwise straight grained formal looking piece has a butterfly in thrown in and it just distracts, but that is obviously is not the case here. I also really like the shape of these butterflies.

I did groan a bit at le live edge of the board in the first picture, thought it looked a bit out of place, but looking a bit closer and at the rest of the pictures it was just the angle of that one. It fits in just fine the the feel of the rest of the bench.

-- Ted

View Tim Christensen's profile

Tim Christensen

67 posts in 3101 days

#4 posted 11-23-2016 05:36 PM

Thanks for the comments! The real reason I had to go with the live edge is because that is what I had to work with! If I tried to straighten it out it would have only catered to those with skinny little butts!! I unfortunately have not had one of those in years! And both sets of keys were put there to stop cracks, the one on the back leg is obvious but the one on the side is hard to see but there is a crack in the middle of that knot. I didn’t want to take the risk of it getting bigger sometime down the road. I had thought about using more walnut or some oak for the keys, but I kind of wanted them to stand out more. A lot of it was I wanted to challenge myself to somethings I haven’t done before.

-- Tim C., Sgt. Bluff, Iowa.

View pottz's profile


7993 posts in 1627 days

#5 posted 11-23-2016 09:28 PM

you did a fantastic job job on this bench, always love a live edge when done right,sometimes people find a live edge and think for that reason alone it will look good.i also find that too many people over use butterflies,i think yours were with you on the finish,i use an oil finish on all the furniture i ,i like the way you still feel the wood and not some high gloss plastic finish,especially on walnut.also gotta say i love your first attempt with hand cut dovetails.over all i think you made a beautiful bench,congrats.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View Durbs75's profile


134 posts in 1258 days

#6 posted 11-23-2016 11:37 PM

I really like everything about this bench!! Awesome walnut, butterflies, and the joinery is outstanding!! Great job!

-- Carey Durbin, Marietta GA,

View david38's profile


3518 posts in 2986 days

#7 posted 11-24-2016 02:40 PM

nice looking bench

View Nwdesigns's profile


28 posts in 1481 days

#8 posted 11-24-2016 05:31 PM

Beautiful work. You should be proud. Its especially special to have used some lumber from the family farm.

View Mean_Dean's profile


7019 posts in 3790 days

#9 posted 11-24-2016 07:15 PM

That’s a very nice looking bench! Love the live edge, as it respects the tree it came from, and the bowties add to the longevity of the bench, while enhancing its appearance!

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

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