Build a Custom Live-Edge Bench

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Chairmaking “cheats” take care of the tricky stuff. Find a slab and make yourself a seat.

There’s always something new on The American Woodshop, and Season 24 was no exception. In the season’s first episode, Scott and Suzy built a Nakashima-inspired live-edge bench, using a walnut slab reclaimed from an old barn and a few store-bought 26 minutes and 40 seconds. Having watched woodworking and DIY shows since I could reach the dial on my TV, I knew that this project would take longer to build in real-life. Still, I was intrigued by the way Scott crafted a handsome project from a handful of humble ingredients. 
Inspired by Scott’s enthusiasm and the project’s apparent simplicity, I decided to try my hand at making a bench of my own. Of course, just as no two live-edge slabs are ever alike, the same can be said about two woodworkers. I used Scott’s methods as a starting point, but I discovered that I needed to employ a few tricks of my own to suit my slab, skills, and tool assortment. 
As you read through this project, you can follow my techniques, borrow a few tricks from Scott, or devise your own methods. However you cut it, you’ll wind up with a gorgeous bench.

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