Jim is retired and living in small town Illinois. When he called me about material for a Roubo style bench top I suggested Bullet Tree. I recommended it not only for it’s weight and hardness, but also because it machines well for such a hard material. Little did I know Bullet Tree, (Bucida buceras), would make such a stunning top.
Jim took took this “hard as steel” material, along with a design from Chris Schwarz and Megan Fitspatrick that appeared in Popular Woodworking, and produced a bench that is sure to stay put and open some eyes to new materials for traditional bench building.
The top, measuring 2 1/4″ thick by 24″ wide by 8′ long, by itself weighs in at 197 lbs. The Bullet Tree is hard enough that Jim bolted the bench top to the legs by counter sinking half inch holes in the bottom and tapping them with a standard coarse machine thread. He told me that he tightened them as much as he could with a ratchet and still couldn’t get the threads to strip. That is some tough wood..