Oak and Walnut Bench

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Project by pete79 posted 04-23-2011 05:11 AM 3234 views 10 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a bench I made for my parents as a Christmas gift. It’s the 4th piece of furniture I’ve ever made. Since I have no insulation or heat in my garage, I had to wait until it got a little warmer out to start building it for them though.

The bench is made of red oak and walnut. The entire bench started out as one big 8/4 slab of walnut, and one big 8/4 slab of red oak. This was my first attempt at mortise and tenon joinery, so I figured I might as well go for it and I drawbored the joints while I was at it. That worked out pretty good except that I offset two of the holes in the tenons too much and ended up cracking the pegs. Not a big deal as they split after they were all the way in and I was able to plane off most of the cracked part. I don’t own many larger power tools, so the only one involved in the making of this bench was a table saw – everything else was done with a hand plane and chisels, which was really fun.

I sanded down to 220 and finished with three coats of Arm-R-Seal Satin and a coat of wax. I didn’t see the saw marks on the end grain of the seat until I posted the pictures – you can’t see them in person, so I assume the flash highlighted them (oh well). I signed the bottom of the bench in the center near the walnut strip.

I learned a LOT along the way on this one, including the results of internal wood stresses as the 8/4 walnut slab I started with decided it didn’t like being ripped into smaller pieces I guess.

I wish I could keep this one, but it goes to its new home tomorrow. Hope you enjoy.

-- Life is a one lap race.

15 comments so far

View Monty Queen's profile

Monty Queen

1593 posts in 3125 days

#1 posted 04-23-2011 05:16 AM

Wow it looks awesome, you did a great job on that table. Superb craftsmanship

-- Monty Q, Columbia, South Carolina.

View smitty22's profile


714 posts in 2820 days

#2 posted 04-23-2011 05:28 AM

Great design and craftsmanship, thanks for posting it.

-- Smitty

View Nathaniel Johnson's profile

Nathaniel Johnson

3 posts in 2464 days

#3 posted 04-23-2011 05:33 AM

I love how you used these two woods. We have both black walnut and (white) oak and I have wanted to use them in combination for a while. Beautiful work and thank you for the inspiration.


-- -- Nathaniel

View auggy53's profile


159 posts in 2553 days

#4 posted 04-23-2011 06:49 AM

very nice piece , i wish i had the ability to do something like that . maybe someday , looks great !

-- rick

View jim1953's profile


2734 posts in 3715 days

#5 posted 04-23-2011 06:49 AM

Great Lookin Bench

-- Jim, Kentucky

View Splinterman's profile


23072 posts in 3234 days

#6 posted 04-23-2011 10:36 AM

Sweet design and well finished…good job.

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 3110 days

#7 posted 04-23-2011 01:10 PM

Great looking bench. Having more tools doesn’t make your work better, ... but, you can never have enough tools. LOL

-- Hal, Tennessee

View Bob Fowkes's profile

Bob Fowkes

36 posts in 2500 days

#8 posted 04-23-2011 02:55 PM

Very nice! So true that some marks don’t show up until the end, at certain angles, or with certain light….

-- Bob

View Dave's profile


11426 posts in 2713 days

#9 posted 04-23-2011 05:06 PM

I love the accent down the middle. Nice work

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View ward63's profile


351 posts in 2960 days

#10 posted 04-23-2011 05:23 PM

That’s a beautiful bench! I think it will last at least a few centuries. I really like the contrasting woods.
Excellent job. Thanks for sharing.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13347 posts in 3546 days

#11 posted 04-23-2011 05:31 PM

That’s a beautiful bench.

View Mark's profile


19 posts in 2434 days

#12 posted 07-22-2011 07:30 PM

Beautiful bench. I’d like to make a bench like this. Did you use plans or design it yourself?

View AMF64's profile


8 posts in 1949 days

#13 posted 09-19-2012 02:40 AM

Hey Pete,
Was browsing through & found your bench & wondering also if you had plans. Love the design, can you enlighten me as to your inspiration..

View pete79's profile


154 posts in 3013 days

#14 posted 09-20-2012 10:53 AM

Thanks for the compliment. I didn’t have any plans to wirk from other than a very rough sketch I did. I made this up as I went along. The inspiration came from a few different pieces I saw here on LJ’s, but the mix in wood was really what I was after. I wanted something that had walnut in it and it had to have oak to match my parents furniture. The rest was just a matter of what pieces I thought would look good in certain spots.

Thanks again!

-- Life is a one lap race.

View AMF64's profile


8 posts in 1949 days

#15 posted 09-20-2012 12:11 PM

Thanks, could you lmk apprx dimensions of the legs? Looking to do something similar…again, thanks &beautiful piece. You can p/m me if you like.


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