Rainbow Bench

This bench started as a tree in a residential part of Greenpoint, in Brooklyn: I recovered some of it when the owner cut the tree, then I sawed it into slabs and put it up to dry for two years. The gently tapered and splayed legs (turned by hand from ash wood saved from another project) place the bench squarely in the tradition of mid-century-style live-edge wood furniture. The wedged through-tenons and the little butterfly securing a check at one end reinforce the style. As evidence of history, I left the live edge (which was just under the bark of the tree) on one side and part of the opposite side, and I left the dynamic chainsaw cuts raw on the two ends. One of these ends is rough enough to show the violence of felling a tree, but it’s not splintery or dangerous. The finish is many coats of pure tung oil, to make the most of the rich wood. For lack of knowing the proper species (some funny kind of ash or elm?), I have been referring to this wood as “rainbow ash.” It is some of the most colorful wood I have ever used. This bench is in my home, and I use it every day to put on my shoes.