Live Edge Ant Infested Walnut Bench

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Project by ric53 posted 08-01-2015 09:23 PM 3664 views 4 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I just finished this during the last week and installed it today. This is a slab of walnut that was reclaimed by Urban Wood Lab in Milwaukee, WI. It housed a colony of ants and they created this work of art which I then made into a bench for some very satisfied clients. The waterfall leg turned out awesome. Finish is 6 coats of wiped on spar urathane. There is a 3/4” x 1-1/4” spline routed and glued into the miter. Any comments are welcome. And yes the ants have been eradicated.

-- Ric, Mazomanie

21 comments so far

View farmerdude's profile


606 posts in 1458 days

#1 posted 08-01-2015 09:35 PM

I can’t say that I’ve heard of anyone using ant chewed wood, but I’m glad you did. This bench looks great. The waterfall effect looks good, and the ants did add something special to it. Nice job.

-- Jeff in central Me.

View Ropelie's profile


30 posts in 591 days

#2 posted 08-02-2015 02:19 AM

Nice waterfall edge! How did you cut it and how much work was it to make the joint look good?

View ric53's profile


144 posts in 939 days

#3 posted 08-02-2015 12:20 PM

Ropelie, I used a standard 7-1/4” circular saw and a clamped on straight edge. With the blade tipped at 45 degrees I wasn’t able to cut all the way thru the slab so I finished with a hand saw. A little work with the belt sander and in about 15 min the joint came together. The spline is what actually allows the joint to line up so well. I had to adjust the miter about a 16th of an inch to compensate for the material lost in the saw kerf. All & all not to difficult.

farmerdude, Thanks for the comment. Nature provides us with all kinds of art work, we just have to look for it and have a clear vision of what can be done to showcase it.

-- Ric, Mazomanie

View RustyHacksaw's profile


79 posts in 682 days

#4 posted 08-02-2015 01:16 PM

I think it looks great. The grain and “damage” in the wood makes it look fantastic as it flows towards, and then sharply drops off down the side of the leg… like you “waterfall”.

Well done, and cool piece.

View helluvawreck's profile


22669 posts in 2286 days

#5 posted 08-02-2015 01:34 PM

That is a beautiful piece out of beautiful wood. Nice Work.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View a1Jim's profile


115172 posts in 2996 days

#6 posted 08-02-2015 01:52 PM

Very cool looking and a fine fit on the joint.

-- Custom furniture

View leafherder's profile


853 posts in 1371 days

#7 posted 08-02-2015 01:57 PM

Beautiful bench! A few practical questions:

1. Did you fill the ant holes in the top with anything to prevent cloth from snagging?

2. How is it attached to the wall?

3. Any concerns about the air vent underneath causing warping or cracking in the future?

Thanks for posting.

-- Leafherder

View ric53's profile


144 posts in 939 days

#8 posted 08-02-2015 02:13 PM

leafherder, I used some epoxy in some of the areas that appeared to be weakened but for the most part, no, I left them as they were. I used some “CA” in areas where it was punky and this stiffened the wood fibers nicely. The customer was not concerned with any snagging as it will be more of a show piece than an actual seating bench. It is attached to the wall with cleats that are screwed into the bench and then into to wall studs. The cleats are made out of walnut also. No concerns about the air vent it’s far enough away from the slab and there is plenty of air movement in the room.

-- Ric, Mazomanie

View Luddite's profile


170 posts in 657 days

#9 posted 08-02-2015 02:31 PM

Very well done. The joinery is excellent, can’t see any offset in the grain.


-- T Loftus -- Just on the edge of common sense

View ric53's profile


144 posts in 939 days

#10 posted 08-02-2015 02:40 PM

Terry, I had to adjust about a 16th of an inch to compensate for the saw kerf.

-- Ric, Mazomanie

View ronstar's profile


282 posts in 3130 days

#11 posted 08-02-2015 02:49 PM

Great bench! Nice workaround on the imperfections in the wood.

-- Ron, Northern Illinois

View JimYoung's profile


219 posts in 1006 days

#12 posted 08-02-2015 06:39 PM

Very cool project.

-- -Jim, "Society is well governed when its people obey the magistrates, and the magistrates obey the law." -- Solon

View GregH's profile


36 posts in 622 days

#13 posted 08-02-2015 07:58 PM

Really great job. The waterfall is so good that the tree still appears to be growing!

-- I was in the market for a new obsession and wound up here.

View Grumpymike's profile


1890 posts in 1734 days

#14 posted 08-02-2015 08:46 PM

Ric, Think again about that vent in the floor … I had a wonderful antique piece that was my grandmothers, circa 1890-1900 … It had been about 5 houses that I owned over the years with no problems.
Then came the day that I moved into a condo for a while and I set my prized antique over a vent. about a month later as the heat came on I heard a loud CRACK!! and the value of my prized Antique went from valuable to a keepsake of no value.
Yeah, I thought that I had plenty of room for it to blow too. ... not considering that all that air from the furnace is very, very dry. ... just food for thought.

Might try one of those plastic deflectors that moves the air 90° out along the floor.

Nice project, and I like the texture of the mined out wood … looks good.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View ZachNack's profile


17 posts in 472 days

#15 posted 08-02-2015 09:22 PM

Well done and a great piece. Thanks for aharing.

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