Spalted Poplar Bench

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Project by RobJones posted 05-20-2010 06:57 AM 2597 views 5 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I built this bench from scraps that my neighbors were going to burn after they had some trees milled for their new home. Its a live edge, spalted poplar bench. It was fun coming up with a way to use the wood so that I showed off the nice live edge and bug “damage”. I used rebar to hold the back of the bench on and as stretchers between the two legs. The legs are mortised into the bench and the two pieces of the seat are splined together.

Hope you all like it.


14 comments so far

View falegniam's profile


335 posts in 2945 days

#1 posted 05-20-2010 07:06 AM

i’ve seen those “stitches” like the one you have on top of the bench. how are those done?
nice job by the way.

-- If you work you eat - If you don't work, you eat, drink, and sleep.

View RobJones's profile


12 posts in 2922 days

#2 posted 05-20-2010 07:26 AM

The way I made them was to create the butterfly, in this case out of walnut, and then trace its shape at the location I wanted it. Then I used a plunge router with a spiral bit and took out the majority of the hole. I finished cleaning it out with my chisels. I set the router depth just shy of the walnut butterfly so it would be proud of the bench top when glued in place. After that I cut if flush with a Japanese saw and sanded it down. I used these to span some cracks that were in the poplar.

Thanks for the interest.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18265 posts in 3669 days

#3 posted 05-20-2010 08:19 AM

Nice work, is it stable when people lean back?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Ken90712's profile


17556 posts in 3182 days

#4 posted 05-20-2010 11:15 AM


-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Junji's profile


698 posts in 3375 days

#5 posted 05-20-2010 02:08 PM

Looking really great! I can’t believe someone was trying to burn these great wood… Good job. Very nice design.

-- Junji Sugita from Japan,

View mcsquared's profile


17 posts in 3540 days

#6 posted 05-20-2010 03:33 PM

Change for a nickel?

View OutPutter's profile


1199 posts in 3983 days

#7 posted 05-20-2010 04:00 PM

Another nice one Rob. You saved the wood and made a great project to boot. Did you take precautions to prevent the rebar from rusting and so on? And, while we’re on the subject of rebar, how do you bend it so accurately?


-- Jim

View RobJones's profile


12 posts in 2922 days

#8 posted 05-20-2010 04:17 PM

Topamax, it is pretty stable when you lean back. The back of the bench is pretty low though unless you sit at the curve.

McSquared, bwahaha. All I have it four pennies. Sorry bro.

Jim, I sprayed the rebar with clear rustoleum and so far I have seen no rust. Its been sitting outside for a month or so and should have shown some if it were untreated. Getting the rebar to bend is pretty easy if you have a rebar bender. I used a big floor model that allows you to set the angle. Then its just a matter of bending your pieces and cutting them to the same length. I had to figure out the correct angle but it wasn’t a problem after that.

View Alan Young's profile

Alan Young

137 posts in 3713 days

#9 posted 05-20-2010 08:45 PM

VERY COOL I love it!

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3578 days

#10 posted 05-20-2010 09:20 PM

Another piece I should not like as I am not a fan of rustic but this is beautiful well done wish it were in my garden.I’m learning more about myself everyday.LOL Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View a1Jim's profile


117083 posts in 3570 days

#11 posted 05-21-2010 07:54 AM

So far out cool

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View pickpapa's profile


129 posts in 2653 days

#12 posted 06-07-2011 11:56 PM

Great job on the bench. I love to save wood from the fire as well. From reading the other comments, I see the bench has been completed for over a year now. How has it held up in the weather? Again, super design.

-- Chuck.. aka Pickpapa`'`'`'`'`'` The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word. Heb. 1:3

View SnowFrog's profile


102 posts in 2539 days

#13 posted 06-08-2011 12:13 AM

Was this resawed on a bandsaw?
What size of bandsaw do you need for something like this? And
how many people to control the wood?

-- One can dream, about a passion not yet fully fulfilled!

View RobJones's profile


12 posts in 2922 days

#14 posted 06-09-2011 05:16 PM


The bench is holding up just fine. Its on my parents outside screened porch and does get some weather. No signs of loose joints or fading finishes.


I didn’t use a bandsaw once on this project. The three main pieces (the back and two seat sections) were roughly that same thickness when I saved them. The legs came from a couple shorter pieces that I cut apart. The challenge that I had for the project was to use the pieces in the best way possible for their shapes.

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