Making a Single Slab Table

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Blog entry by Odysseus posted 12-15-2013 06:30 AM 2796 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here’s a photo story of how a beautiful sapele slab dining table came to be…

I anxiously awaited my flawless sapele slab from a top-dollar dealer…

How NOT to palletize a very expensive slab. The 60 inch by 10 foot sapele slab arrived in less than the perfect shape promised.

Here it is unwrapped, beautiful, but problematic…


I would say that’s cupped and sawn pretty bad. Yikes!

Not the 12/4 promised.

I decided to sand this board rather than plane it. It’s going to take some extra time and thought…

Not the 6-8% I was promised. more like 12-18%(I should have checked earlier, but I needed batteries for the meter) Averaged out at 14%.

This turned out to be the most challenging part of the project. This whole section of the piece was pretty much hollow with bark inclusion. As I sanded further into the top more holes and cracks appeared. It took 4 days to fill with epoxy.

This is a side view of the bark inclusion. Both the side and bottom of the slab had to be rebuilt with epoxy. I would have had better photos of this if I pre-planned the photo essay. After sanding and finishing, it turned out beautiful.

The top side is now flat!

Top is flat and sanded to 60 grit. I chose not to flatten the bottom because it would have lost too much thickness. I just ran it through the sander a few times to clean up the outside edges of the bottom to give the profile and even appearance. Only one corner was left a little scant about a 16th of an inch.

Filling all the minor checks and voids.

Top is sanded to 150 grit. Looking good!

Sanding with my 11” random orbital. Nice machine! Took it all the way to 1200 grit without skipping any grits. I feel this is the most important step to getting a good finish. Never cheat on your sanding! It really doesn’t take much time and I have to say it really pays off in the end and it’s the easiest part of the whole process. My wife just pointed out I was not wearing my dust mask—shame on me! My wife was out of town. I was living dangerously – ha ha.

Just a little more sanding is all it takes.

I let my buddy Andy clean up the end grain on Thanksgiving Day. My two buddies came to see me on Thanksgiving and we had a guys work weekend. I am very grateful for their help. We had a lot of fun!

Here is the best part! Andy is applying the first coat of Odie’s Oil. It’s the best finish and I am not saying this just because I make the stuff myself! For this project I chose to coat the table with one coat of Odie’s Oil, one coat of Odie’s Wood Butter and Odie’s Oil combo, followed up by one good coat of Odie’s Wax. I’ve got a little video of the beginning of the finish process. I’ll post it after this photo essay. (if I can figure out how)

Here’s me finishing…..



Boy, just look at that shine!


Who says you can’t get a shine with an oil and wax? Matte finish my #%s—haha

On the van, ready to go to a really happy customer.

-- Odysseus -- "No man is an island"

4 comments so far

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1906 posts in 2474 days

#1 posted 12-15-2013 12:36 PM

Wow! That is an amazing table. That you can overcome those initial problems really shows your professionalism. Great job

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View wunderaa's profile


248 posts in 2707 days

#2 posted 12-15-2013 04:37 PM

Wow, what a stunning piece. I hope the customer who just took ownership has an appreciation for what a fine piece of furniture they’ve received!

View Odysseus's profile


24 posts in 2464 days

#3 posted 12-15-2013 05:08 PM

Actually he just called me to say how thrilled he is! Thanks guys!

-- Odysseus -- "No man is an island"

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3371 days

#4 posted 12-15-2013 05:26 PM

It’s a nice table and thanks for the post and photos.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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