Building a Floating Vanity With a Live Edge Walnut Slab

Brian Benham
by Brian Benham
3 Materials
20 Hours
This floating vanity a made from walnut, and features a 2" thick walnut slab. To add some visual interest to the slab I inlayed ebony bow ties along the cracks in the slab. The bow ties are inlaid by hand.
I first started out milling and gluing up the wood for the top of the floating vanity. I arrange the boards so the board that had the bark inclusion in it would be at the top left corner of the counter top. As luck would have it, the slab I picked out has a similar bark inclusion on the left side. I am thinking that this will be a nice subtle detail, where it will look like the vanity board was cut from the same slab.
To keep the vanity top smooth, I filled the bark inclusion with epoxy. When I pour epoxy to fill a large void like this one, I use blue tape to seal up any holes on the other side and to create a dam along the edge to hold all the epoxy.
Once I had the vanity top assembled, I used my skill saw on a sled to cut the angle that returns the counter top back to the wall. To cut the miter for the apron I glued on a piece of pine along the edge to ride the fence of the table saw so I could safely pass it across.
I used a bunch of dominoes to help align the miter and add strength to the long mitered joint on the front edge of the apron. I used Epoxy to glue it all up.
Since this vanity will be floating, to attach it to the wall I came up with a cantilevered beam system. It all started with installing a French cleat. I then installed the support beams. I made them full depth of the counter so they press against the French cleat that is bolted to the wall. The pressure against the cleat is surprisingly strong and holds up the counter.
Moving on to the back splash; to flatten the walnut slab, I used the method Nick Offerman made popular in fine woodworking magazine. I built two parallel runners for a router sled to ride on. The bit I’m using is a 1-1/2 inch DIA flat bottom fluted plunge bit. You don’t want to take too big of a bite with that sucker unless you are holding on really well. However, that large of a bit made quick work of flattening the slab.
The customer specifically requested I get a slab with some cracks in it so I could add some decorative bowtie inlays. I drew out some sizes I thought would go well with size of cracks in the slab, and use some spray adhesive to attach them to the ebony.

I roughed the bowties out on the bandsaw, and use some files and chisels to refine the shape. To install them I used a marking knife to trace out the shape, staked it in with a chisel, and hand chopped them out. I glued them in place and used a hand plane to flush them to the surface of the slab.
I used spar varnish on the vanity top, since it is a wet area, and a wiping varnish on the backsplash. The sink is onyx with LED lights on the back to light it up.
Brian Benham is a furniture maker out of Colorado building furniture in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. You can watch more of the furniture he makes on his Youtube channel and read about it on his blog
Or for more information on Brian Benham visit his custom furniture website
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Frequently asked questions
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  3 questions
  • JoeStatenIsland JoeStatenIsland on Jan 14, 2020

    Brian, Which brand of spar varnish did you use/prefer since this is a critical step of the project? How many coats? ...Joe

  • Teresa Lavender Teresa Lavender on Jan 14, 2020

    This is amazing! Can you come to my house an redo my bathroom??

  • Janice Janice on Jan 15, 2021

    Absolutely stunning! Would this work in a kitchen?

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2 of 32 comments
  • Pam Pam on Jan 10, 2023

    OMG! How beautiful! My hubby, is good, but not THAT good! Will you come and do my powder room? Please? You should be SO proud of that

  • Linda Abate Linda Abate on Jan 10, 2023

    This is absolutely a beautiful vanity. Definitely should be show cased in a home decor magazine.