Live Edge Waterfall Oak Bench

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Project by Tom posted 01-09-2019 02:24 PM 1169 views 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a project that I did not plan to do, but the opportunity came when a friend bought a portable saw mill rig for his chain saw and slabbed a log. I wanted to encourage him, so I bought a slab for a few bucks.

Most of my work has been rectilinear cabinetry or boxes. My intent was to make a waterfall table, but I tried hard to be more freeform with this project and let the board guide me. In the end, the result and proportions lends itself to being a sitting bench in my opinion.

Really only two joints in this one, a miter and a butterfly inlay. The board had plenty of twist and cupping. I tried to go with the flow of the board rather than forcing it into flat, square submission.

The 45 degree miter on the end for the waterfall was a real challenge. I cut it with my 45 year old craftsman circular saw. I flattened the area near the cut to some extent, but the first cut released a lot of tension and stress in the wood. The wood responded with more or less cupping in each piece so that the miter did not line up well. I completed the second miter cut and then worked the joint by hand with a hand plane until a had a reasonably close joint. I used several dowels to secure and line up the joint and continued to tune it up with the hand plane. In the end, I feel the joint turned out well with nice grain flow over the waterfall.

I am particularly proud of the butterfly inlay. It is made from a piece of 3/4” thick maple that I prepared by hand, making sure the sides were dead square. I cut the recess in the wood with a knife, chisel and mallet. Cutting through the gnarly grain along the fissure was a real challenge. As luck would have it, it turned out to be a nice tight fit.

I purchased the metal leg bracket from a vender on Etsy. The carriage bolts are from the hardware store. I filed off the numbers on the head of the bolts and sanded the top. Then I soaked the bolts overnight in white vinegar to remove the zinc and had a nice bare steel look to match the leg.

I filled voids in the surface from rot and knots with black epoxy which looks nice in the finished piece. I also used clear liquid epoxy to stabilize the sap wood and the rotted broken out areas on the end. The whole thing is finished with high gloss water based poly.

My wife thinks it is my best project yet. It was quite a challenge, but a fun experience.

-- Tom

11 comments so far

View pottz's profile


6414 posts in 1499 days

#1 posted 01-09-2019 02:54 PM

i love it,very rustic and reallly looks good where you have it.i see hints of george nakashima in this bench.i agree about the butterfly that fit like a glove,nice work tom.

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

View mvegas's profile


4 posts in 738 days

#2 posted 01-09-2019 03:40 PM

Very impressive. I especially like how you let the wood guide your design. Well done,Tom!

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

23405 posts in 3620 days

#3 posted 01-09-2019 05:42 PM

Beautiful bench, Tom!!


-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View UncleBuck's profile


251 posts in 595 days

#4 posted 01-09-2019 05:50 PM

very nice job waterfall table is in my to do list i do have a band mill so i have lots of slabs again great job

-- Terry Uncle Buck Carvins "woodworking minus patience equals firewood "

View Peteybadboy's profile


1189 posts in 2464 days

#5 posted 01-09-2019 10:12 PM

Looks great, I have some oak slabs and was thinking of black epoxy to jazz it up a bit. Nice bow tie. Thanks for posting

-- Petey

View swirt's profile


4240 posts in 3486 days

#6 posted 01-10-2019 02:12 AM

A great looking table/bench. Nice work.

-- Galootish log blog,

View LoganN's profile


457 posts in 2415 days

#7 posted 01-10-2019 11:54 PM

Looks fantastic! Great job!

View Design59's profile


12 posts in 285 days

#8 posted 01-11-2019 03:00 PM

Looks great! Quality job on these

-- Table leg and Component Vendor, NC,

View DannyW's profile


194 posts in 312 days

#9 posted 01-11-2019 03:17 PM

Absolutely beautiful!

-- DannyW

View Tom's profile


79 posts in 406 days

#10 posted 01-11-2019 07:26 PM

Thanks all for the nice comments. This site is great for sharing and finding new projects. Very inspiring.

-- Tom

View ShawnCB's profile


13 posts in 284 days

#11 posted 01-16-2019 11:47 PM

very beautiful piece, good job!

-- Shawn

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