Butterfly Garden Bench

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Project by schwingding posted 04-10-2017 11:30 AM 1254 views 4 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hi all! Been a long time since I posted (and had much of anything to post). I’ve returned to woodworking and teaching slowly over the past few years since selling my shop when I divorced. I’m now on the teaching staff at “The Foundery” an industrial grade maker space in Baltimore and have access to everything a woodworker/artist could ever imagine.

This project I’ve just completed turned out really nicely. I had been using our laser engravers to sign my work for a few months, and also do a little inlay work. I was about to carve out standard bowtie/butterfly joints to keep this crack in check and then had an epiphany – I could make them look like real butterflies on the laser! The laser can perform both operations – carving out the negative space and cutting the inlays. However, after etching the negatives on the benchtop, the heat caused the crack to spread a bit wider before I could get the inlays inserted and glued. SO, I drew it back together till the inlays fit with clamps and then secured the joint with 2 steel plates underneath. It won’t move again! First I etch the negative, then simply use the same app to cut the inlays. The laser is so accurate that I simply offset the inlays by -0.15mm and they literally slip right in. Crazy!

My girlfriend had the idea for the legs. Of course it’s easy to have an idea, not so much to make it into reality! I chose quartered sycamore for the legs because of how it shimmers like a butterfly wing, and joined them together very carefully using a Festool Domino. Same for the joint from benchtop to legs. There’s no visible joinery on this piece other than the butterflies on top.

I already sold this prior to finishing, and the good news is I have more buyers, AND 2 more identical slabs of this walnut. What do you guys think? Glad to be back.

-- Just another woodworker

15 comments so far

View LoganN's profile


449 posts in 2142 days

#1 posted 04-10-2017 11:38 AM

That is gorgeous! Now I wish I had a laser engraver – or CNC!! Great job

View bubbaw's profile


75 posts in 1887 days

#2 posted 04-10-2017 01:49 PM

beautiful, really like the legs.

-- Isaiah 40:31

View htl's profile


4328 posts in 1400 days

#3 posted 04-10-2017 01:50 PM

Great project and sounds like you in a great place to make many more .

-- An Index Of My Model making Blogs

View Bobsboxes's profile


1369 posts in 2905 days

#4 posted 04-10-2017 02:36 PM

Very cool design, really like your leg design.

-- Bob in Montana. Kindness is the Language the blind can see and deaf can hear. - Mark Twain

View david38's profile


3518 posts in 2584 days

#5 posted 04-10-2017 02:37 PM

looks great

View ohwoodeye's profile


2136 posts in 3394 days

#6 posted 04-10-2017 02:52 PM

The legs make it.
An artist could even paint the butterfly legs… could essentially have 6 different looking butterflies when viewed from all angles.

Well done.

-- Directions are just the Manufacturer's "opinion" on how something should be assembled. ----Mike, Waukesha, WI

View sras's profile


4970 posts in 3370 days

#7 posted 04-10-2017 03:44 PM

Wow! I wasn’t expecting this level of detail – love it!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3107 days

#8 posted 04-10-2017 04:04 PM

What a beautiful bench. The wood and workmanship are fabulous.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View pottz's profile


3847 posts in 1225 days

#9 posted 04-10-2017 05:49 PM

very creative,and a gorgeous slab of walnut.i can see those would easily sell.great job.

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

View Mean_Dean's profile


6916 posts in 3388 days

#10 posted 04-10-2017 09:42 PM

Very creative and beautiful butterfly bench—love that live-edge slab!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 3609 days

#11 posted 04-10-2017 09:52 PM

Everything about it is fabulous, Love the butterflies instead of bow ties!

View bushmaster's profile


3437 posts in 2523 days

#12 posted 04-10-2017 10:14 PM

Nice you are back into woodworking and are able to use equipment that most of could only dream about. Keep using as long as you can, beautiful table.

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

View BigRedKnothead's profile


8542 posts in 2223 days

#13 posted 04-10-2017 11:15 PM

Straight up bad A$$. Nice work.

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View schwingding's profile


133 posts in 4066 days

#14 posted 04-11-2017 09:37 AM

Thank you all for the nice comments! Now onto the next one.

-- Just another woodworker

View Gary's profile


1341 posts in 4565 days

#15 posted 10-31-2018 01:04 AM

This popped up on Roll the Dice.
Have to say it is wonderful!

-- Gary, Florida

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