Well today was the first day that I actually did any work on this bench. Some time ago (maybe 3 years?) I saw an ad in Kijiji for some wood that a lady was selling her in the city. Her dad had passed on and as a former woodworker, he had left a whole bunch of wood behind. By the time I saw the ad and got there, most of the good stuff was gone. I did get a few nice wide mahogany boards, and then a couple of old barn beams. The two big ones were 8’ long and there were a few shorter pieces. Today, I cut those 8 footers down to use as the legs for my bench. I rough cut them to 37” long and then ran a face and an edge over the jointer. My planer is currently in the shop getting repaired, so the other face and edge will have to wait till I get it back.
I didn’t know when I bought these what kind of wood they were, but I did know that by the weight and heft of them, they were hardwood. Once I cut the rough ends off, I was pleasantly surprised to find that one of the beams is red oak, and the other is hard maple.
Here’s what they looked like before and after jointing.
As you can see, these things are pretty rough, even when cleaned up. They have checks, splits and cracks in them. They have nail holes, but fortunately no nails. I was careful to take my metal detector over them before doing anything to them.
They are roughly 5 1/2” x 3 1/2” at this stage. I think if I get rid of most of the checking, I can save 5” x 3” legs. That may be ok, but here is what I’m considering. Laminating 1/4” walnut on all four sides of each leg. This will make it look MUCH nicer IMO, and give me some thickness back. But I haven’t decided for sure on this yet and would love to hear your thoughts on this…
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