Dec 192014

When designing furniture one of the things that makes a piece go from the mundane, to “WOW that’s a nice piece”, is choosing an awesome looking piece of wood to feature in the project. It could be anything from that great figure in the wood, to the spalting streaks, and even the cracks and imperfections that make it stand out.

Oftentimes when I go to the lumberyard with a design in mind, I am looking for one of those WOW pieces of wood to feature. However, most times I just can’t find exactly what I am looking for. The stack has either been picked through by others before I got there, sorted out before that particular shipment arrived at the dealer, or mother nature just didn’t provide what I wanted that day.

Not all is lost; there are other resources such as veneering, as well as other woodworking techniques that can be employed to mimic the desired piece. Much like in the case of my recent project. I was building a bench and wanted to add a decorative feature by putting butterfly inlays over a crack in the wood. I scoured all of my local lumberyards within a two-hour drive of my shop to no avail. It seemed that the perfect piece of cherry that I could visualize in my imagination just didn’t exist in real life.

Once I was out of lumberyards to visit, I started thinking of other options I could use to incorporate the use of butterfly inlays. I didn’t like any of the options I came up with so I decided to make my own crack.

I started out by jointing the two boards I picked out for the top to be sure I like how they looked together. I then sketched the shape of the crack I wanted on the top and on the ends of the boards. I used a carving wheel on my grinder, various rasps, and sandpaper to create the shape. I worked slowly taking only a few passes at a time and then sliding the boards together to be sure I was on the right track in making a shape I liked.

When I was finished, I had carved a convex shape on one board and a matching concaved shape on the other. The resulting shape made it look like they had been one piece that had split apart. I thought it looked great with the crack in the wood meandering back a few inches from the end.

Before gluing the two boards together, I stained the area I had carved on making it look like the split in the wood had been there for a long time. I think the result was a nice solution when I was not able to find that choice piece of wood in the wild.

Bench Leg View


Brian Benham has made his lifelong passion for woodworking his profession. He enjoys taking his clients ideas and combining them with traditional woodworking techniques to create a unique piece of furniture.

You can find more about his furniture at

You can Follow Brian on Google Plus

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Dec 182014

Some of our bloggers are still working on their 2014 Holiday Woodworking Tool Wish Lists. Just in case you are still working on yours (or haven’t even started yet!), here are some ideas to get you going. And don’t forget to create your own woodworking wish list on our website by CLICKING HERE.

Today we’ve got Highland Woodturner contributor, Curtis Turner’s wish list:

Why We Make Things and Why It Matters by Peter Korn

A woodworking friend suggested that I should read this book.  It’s not a typical woodworking book it is more inspirational than instructional.

Festool Systainer-1 Box with 1300 Spax Screws

I already use Spax screws.  So, I guess I don’t need 1,300 screws but this is a great selection of sizes and lengths packaged in a useful way. I really “want” this!

Highland Hardware Black Flexible CA Glue – 1 oz.

This looks like it would be helpful in some situations. I have always wanted to try this out.  It will make a great stocking suffer!

Hirsch #7 Straight Gouge – 35mm

I have a similar sized Hirsch bent gouge that is fantastic.  So, I know the straight gouge would also be helpful.  This is similar to the one Paul Seller used for spoon carving in this video.

Japanese Silky Bigboy X-Coarse Folding Saw

I have the smaller version of this saw and it is just awesome.  I had a chance to check out this “Bigboy” saw the last time I was in the store, and it went straight on my wish list.

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Dec 172014
The Highland Woodturner- December 2014

We’ve just released our December issue of The Highland Woodturner. This month we’ve got some oldies but goodies including a popular tip from Phil Colson on how he is able to find FREE wood for his woodturning projects! We also included Aaron Cooley’s Wood News article on his organization, We Ride to Provide, which turns [...]

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Dec 042014
A new issue of Wood News Online

The holiday season is here and with Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Thankful Tuesday now past us…it is now time for our brand new December 2014 Issue of Wood News Online. Every December we publish our Holiday Gift Guide within Wood News! This month we’ve got some great gift ideas from books [...]

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