|Project by J. Curtis Goforth||posted 01-21-2011 05:24 AM||2748 views||5 times favorited||12 comments|
This bench was made for my wife from totally reclaimed lumber. It is 42” wide, 10 1/4” deep, and 19” high. The woods are spalted red oak and walnut. The finish is Boiled Linseed Oil and wax—no stain was used because I wanted to simply reveal the beauty of the wood that was there. The design is largely my own, though I drew inspiration from many projects posted here and elsewhere. My wife told me that she wanted something that was totally reclaimed, so not being able to bring in store bought materials limited my design as well. The stretcher is not really a through tenon. If I had more material to work with I would have made it a wedged through tenon, but alas I didn’t have the time or material this go around.
A friend had a very old barn that their insurance company forced them to demolish, but they allowed me the chance to go in and salvage what wood I wanted. I was shocked to find two workbenches made out of 8/4 red oak and the slab used as the seat for the bench lying on the ground beneath them! It was originally 12/4, but it was twisted and bowed. (I had to make a router sled and some shims to level one surface of it in order to plane it down.) I removed almost an inch of material to bring it into some semblance of square. I couldn’t believe how wonderful the wood was after going through the planer about a hundred times. (On a side note, the Porter Cable 12 1/2” planer that I got at Lowe’s for $200 is a great buy and it handled this 12/4 slab of red oak without too much of a problem.) I filled some of the nail holes and voids with epoxy, but I left many of the stains from the nails and some of the divots where structural support wasn’t an issue.
I love taking something old that was going to be demolished and giving it a new life, but it is so much harder to work with than “new” lumber. The spalted red oak was particularly troublesome to work with, having a tendency to tear out and break off in chunks. I still have about ten 8/4 spalted red oak boards that are about six feet in length. My wife wants a dining room table out of them. I am going to need a jointer first! Thanks for looking.