Walnut Live Edge Bench // How-To Woodworking
I picked up these slabs from Richard Young, a local central kentucky guy that runs a saw mill, IG @richardyoung0896 if you are local.
I had to just take some time and run the hand plane across the surface to see what kind of character lay underneath this walnut. Out of the medium and small slab, this bench project was accomplished with the smaller slab. If you have any suggestions for the larger one, leave a comment below.
I kept moving along and debarked with a chisel and then i had the slabs sitting around for a couple weeks while I came up with a way to get them flat. I decided to build this slab flattener that I had seen on Instagram from a fellow woodworking. If you are interested in one of these, message me below and I’ll send you his info.
There was a learning curve to this sled and I definitely went too deep initially but with a brand new 2” bit, it wasn’t really a problem. I eventually transitioned to a larger diameter bit with the carbide inserts which was a 2 and 1/4 diameter bit, I’ll put both of those down in the description.
There was a large cavity in the slab that I needed to fill and I had initially tried the epoxy that I had on hand but since it was not a think pour epoxy, I ended up getting cracks which wasn’t a huge deal as I’d be covering it up with the final layer of epoxy.
I started the process of creating the miter and made another error in the project by not realizing my track saw was set to 22.5 degrees instead of 45. I made another final 45 degree cut to finally get the miter that would create the continuous grain effect from the seat of the bench to the leg portion.
When it came time to join the pieces together to create that miter, my only option was my biscuit joiner, not my first choice but you use what you have to get the job done.
Clamping a 45 degree miter can be a difficult task, I learned this technique from Matt Cremona where you use cauls to accomplish this. I’ll put his video down below if you are interested.
I debated on what would go best with this walnut and I wanted to do a steel opposing leg but I’m not a metal worker so I opted for a maple trapezoid and decided to give it unique lines and comment down below how you think it turned out.
I used my mini cross cut sled and table saw to get the angles just right on the end grain for the top of the trapezoid. I assembled and glued up the top and the sides and then worked on the bottom piece to finalize the opposite side leg base.
When it came to completing the void, I purchased small amount of clear thick pour epoxy and colored it with a steel pigment and I think the color goes well with walnut.
When it came to sanding the top, I had just purchased the new Festool cordless sander and i was excited to use this tool. I also used up to 1200 grit and man was that bench smooth. Around this same time I purchased the Festool domino since I had two other projects I needed it for. That domino would have been very handy for the miter joint. Keep in mind that this was a 4-6 month project, one of the slow ones.
Ones the sanding was complete, I decided to go with the Odie’s oil for the finish. I was called out by the company for applying it incorrectly so be careful if you the product and post it on social media. I appreciated their suggestions and they have a good video on the proper techniques so check that out if you use it. I probably used too much but in the end, it didn’t matter to me. I love how the grain and epoxy popped.
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►TOOLS & Materials USED:
Festool ETSC 125 Li 3,1 I-Plus or Basic: https://amzn.to/37Xo8MI
Festool Domino DF 500 Q-Set: https://amzn.to/2LoG4rU
WoodRiver No 6 Hand Plane: https://amzn.to/2Wd1vhK
Wood Is Good Mallet 30oz: https://amzn.to/3mlRNEI
Wood Is Good Mallet 20oz: https://amzn.to/3oNG6rJ
Wood Is Good Mallet 18oz: https://amzn.to/2JZqtPi
Makita Track Saw: https://amzn.to/2LxC7Br
FGCI Liquid Glass: https://amzn.to/2K0Nn8X
Makita Cordless Router: https://amzn.to/3a7AHYz
Odie's Oil: https://amzn.to/3m8Whyg