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Project Information

This bench was made for my wife from totally reclaimed lumber. It is 42" wide, 10 1/4" deep, and 19" high. The woods are spalted red oak and walnut. The finish is Boiled Linseed Oil and wax-no stain was used because I wanted to simply reveal the beauty of the wood that was there. The design is largely my own, though I drew inspiration from many projects posted here and elsewhere. My wife told me that she wanted something that was totally reclaimed, so not being able to bring in store bought materials limited my design as well. The stretcher is not really a through tenon. If I had more material to work with I would have made it a wedged through tenon, but alas I didn't have the time or material this go around.

A friend had a very old barn that their insurance company forced them to demolish, but they allowed me the chance to go in and salvage what wood I wanted. I was shocked to find two workbenches made out of 8/4 red oak and the slab used as the seat for the bench lying on the ground beneath them! It was originally 12/4, but it was twisted and bowed. (I had to make a router sled and some shims to level one surface of it in order to plane it down.) I removed almost an inch of material to bring it into some semblance of square. I couldn't believe how wonderful the wood was after going through the planer about a hundred times. (On a side note, the Porter Cable 12 1/2" planer that I got at Lowe's for $200 is a great buy and it handled this 12/4 slab of red oak without too much of a problem.) I filled some of the nail holes and voids with epoxy, but I left many of the stains from the nails and some of the divots where structural support wasn't an issue.

I love taking something old that was going to be demolished and giving it a new life, but it is so much harder to work with than "new" lumber. The spalted red oak was particularly troublesome to work with, having a tendency to tear out and break off in chunks. I still have about ten 8/4 spalted red oak boards that are about six feet in length. My wife wants a dining room table out of them. I am going to need a jointer first! Thanks for looking.

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Comments

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8,109 Posts
A nice design looking design, and great work on reclaiming the wood.
 

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502 Posts
Absolutely beautiful. I have some old barn wood that I am saving for special projects. There is nothing like wood with a story behind it. Keep up the good work. Enjoy the bench.
 

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2,874 Posts
beautiful piece. There is a richness that comes from old reclaimed wood that you just can't get out of "new" wood. Well done.
 

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463 Posts
Bench turned out great! I like the contrast of wood. I was planing out some really old oak from a out building It was very hard to work with It was like It petrified!
 

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2,643 Posts
Reclaimed Lumber… I love it. Keep building !
 

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11,472 Posts
Now That!! Is a beautiful piece of work!! Once again….Elegance in Simplicity.

Nice Job J.

Rick
 

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1,830 Posts
Your bench is beautiful! I have one for a coffee table, one in the bedroom as a dressing table, and I'm building one to put at the front door, under the coat rack. I hope it turns out to be as nice as yours.

I love reclaimed wood. There is a red oak log on my property that fell in a storm 2 years ago. I thought it had rotted to much to cut for lumber, but I checked yesterday and the sapwood about 2 inches deep is rotted and the heartwood (31") is solid as the day the wind storm took it down. I'll be making something from it as soon as it's cut into lumber and dried. I guess about a year from now.
 

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way to go….looks great…I love the look of reclaimed wood…I just made a mantel out of some old oak timbers…...hard as rock but looks great…well done
 

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191 Posts
I really like this bench. The simple, clean lines and traditional looking construction make it timeless. Nice job leting the wood's natural beauty show.
 

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167 Posts
Good looking project. You are lucky to find barn wood that was not checked badly, barns were usually built of green wood.
 

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That is lovely. Have you any "before" photos of the reclaimed lumber that you can share as well?
 

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Nice bench! I am in the process of reclaiming some oak and hope to make something as nice as your bench.
 
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