1414 & 1424 W. Winton Avenue, Hayward, CA 94545

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Thermally Modified Oak Bench

photo of bench
Neal's CNC cut the slats for this lovely exterior bench for Tournesol Siteworks, who specialize in high-quality landscaping materials. For this particular project, the wood was thermally modified, a process where the wood is "baked" for several hours in a kiln at a higher temperature than kiln-drying.

The thermal modification changes the chemical make-up of the wood into a product with durability similar to South American hardwoods. The process is more ecologically friendly than deforesting South America, and contains no toxic chemicals like those used in pressure treated woods.

The resulting planks are darker than the unmodified wood and have a water content far less than even kiln-dried wood, which has a moisture content between 6-8%. This natural process alters the cellular structure of the wood, preventing moisture absorption. The resulting product is resistant to warping, twisting and other movement. It is extremely durable and has a much longer life than traditional kiln-dried woods. 


photo of bench slats

The bench itself has an elegant curve, with a notch pattern moving from slat to slat. There are three curve patterns interacting at various scales: the bench itself, the line of the notches, and the notch shape. The outside edges are all rounded over to a 5/8" radius, and the inside edges, which abut other slats, are rounded to 1/8".  Underneath are precisely drilled holes to attach the slats to the bench's metal frame.

Neal's CNC did the layout, cutting, and edge routing. We used five different router bits and one drill bit to do the various cuts. We love the look of this bench and are excited about this ecologically-friendly wood. Neal’s CNC looks forward to more projects cutting unusual materials.