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how-to

DIY Live Edge Bench | My first attempt at homemade furniture (VIDEO)

January 04, 2017 Heather Zortman

This is my first time ever making a piece of furniture! I wouldn't normally be the one to take this on but I wanted a unique live edge bench and it really wasn't too difficult.

We had the Symmetry Hardware crew make these Little Summit metal bench legs, so all I needed to do was finish the surface of the wood slab.

Scroll down to follow the 'how to' guide, or you can watch us do it in the video below.

Phase 1: Prep/sand the wood slab

Phase 2: Finish the wood slab surface

Phase 3: Attach the metal legs

Stuff we used to make the live edge bench

  • sawhorses
  • precut live edge wood slab
  • flat pry bar
  • 80 grit sandpaper
  • 150 grit sandpaper
  • 220 grit sandpaper
  • palm sander
  • rags
  • Danish Oil
  • satin wipe on poly
  • 1500 grit sandpaper
  • electric drill
  • drill bits
  • lag screws
  • Phase 1: Prep/sand the wood slab

    Remove the bark

    Step 1: Remove bark from wood slab bench


    I used a flat pry bar to remove the bulk of the bark. Really, anything with a ridgid edge will work, like a stiff metal putty knife. I then sanded the rest down with 80 grit sandpaper on the palm sander.

    If your wood was cut/planed in the summer, the bark will come off easier. If it was cut/planed in the winter, it may be a lot more difficult. You can certainly choose to finish the slab with the bark on. Just sand it so that nothing is loose.


    Sand! Sand! Sand!

    Step 2: Sand the live edge bench


    I sanded all of it three times using the palm sander. First 80 grit, then 150 grit, and finally 220 grit. Afterward, I wiped everything down with a damp rag.

    If you wanted to sand less and save time, I would recommend just 100 grit and then 220 grit. Make sure to get in all the crevices of the live edge part of your wood slab.

    Phase 2: Finish the wood slab surface

    Apply Danish Oil

    Step 3: Apply Danish Oil to wood slab bench


    I saturated the wood heavily with Watco Danish Oil and let it soak in for 30 minutes. Then I did it a second time, and let it sit for 15 minutes. After that, I wiped off all of the excess so that it would dry in a reasonable amount of time. (3 days)

    Danish Oil is not the fastest drying option here, but it IS easy. It stains, seals, and protects in one step. Also, it was recommended to me for a more natural finish.


    Apply Polyurethane

    Step 4: Apply wipe on poly to foyer bench


    I used two coats of Minwax wipe on poly. I applied it thin and made sure it was completely dry before applying the second coat. It took two hours to dry in humid conditions.

    This step could be skipped if you like the way the slab is with just the Danish Oil. I decided to use this because I have a toddler and wanted a little bit more protection. Seeing as it is only a bench, I would probably skip this if I did it again.


    Light Sand

    Step 5: fine grit sanding live edge bench


    I did a quick hand sand with 1500 grit sandpaper.

    No palm sander. I just did a light drag of my hand across the surface of the wood slab bench.


    Phase 3: Attach the metal legs

    Mark and drill pilot holes

    Step 6: Drill pilot holes in wood slab bench


    We positioned the metal bench legs and drilled pilot holes.

    We used Symmetry's Little Summit tube steel bench legs.

    After the legs were positioned, we marked the table top through the mounting holes with a pencil. Then we used a small drill bit to drill our pilots holes 1/4" deep.


    Fasten legs to table top

    Step 7: Fasten legs to live edge bench


    We simply mounted the legs to the wood slab bench with an electric drill.

    Symmetry includes the 14" hex head fasteners. We drove those in with our electric drill and hex head bit.


    We did it!

    All in all, I was really surprised how easy this was. And I have already gotten compliments from guests. It blows them away when I tell them I made it.

    We spent $35 on the wood slab, $300 on the legs (because we had to use three), and about $25 in materials. Total: $360

    I would have spent a lot more than that if I bought a handmade live edge bench elsewhere. But I'm also just glad I made it myself because it's worth more to me that way :)

    Questions or comments below!



    2 comments

    • Levi

      Jan 31, 2017

      Thanks Steve!

      The reviews of that Arm-R-Seal are glowing. We’ll definitely try that stuff out soon. We tend to lean on the side of natural vs. protection , when it comes to finishes. I figure if it ever gets beat up so bad that it bothers me, i’ll just re finish it. :) On my latest project, I used the Danish oil and nothing else.

    • Steven P Shiflett

      Jan 10, 2017

      Nice friendly video! I wonder if there were a way to keep the bark by applying some kind of finish to that? I’ve seen it done at crater lake lodge, but I do not know how they did it. I asked, but no one knew or would say.

      I didn’t know Minwax made a rub on urethane finish. I used Arm-R-Seal (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IKNIDE4/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1) on a table top. It certainly makes things easier! Arm-R-Seal is same price but 1 quart vs 1 pint for Minwax. I do not know if one is better than the other.

      Your bench looks great!


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