Redwood Table #1: Redwood burl slab table- Advice needed

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Blog entry by WoodenSoldier posted 02-02-2013 08:18 PM 2889 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Redwood Table series Part 2: Staining »

Hey guys,
I’m building a kitchen table out of a 3” redwood burl slab and so far it’s coming along nicely.

The legs are being carved from glued up poplar and power carved with an angle grinder.

Its coming along well so far (though the grinding is creating buckets of very fine dust). I laid the top on the legs last night just to see how it was looking.
I had filled in a lot of the gaps last week with epoxy and last night I was sanding it to try to level it out a little more when I discovered that the piece is bowing a little more than I thought. The middle is sagging and it seems like no matter how much I sand the edges it won’t level out.
I need some advice. Do you think if I put some angle iron or oak braces on the bottom I could pull it back to a more level surface without breaking the whole thing in half? It’s 3” thick and about 48”x30”.

-- Create something everyday.

4 comments so far

View BillG's profile


82 posts in 4094 days

#1 posted 02-02-2013 08:26 PM

I would not try to pull it flat. You will stress the wood and it will eventually crack. Leave the bottom the way it is and fit the legs to it. If the top is really out of flat, I would take a plane to it. It is a work out, but will be worth it in the long run. There are also jigs using a router for flattening that you may consider. Just google flattening slabs and you will get a lot of good ideas.

-- Bill G - West Springfield, MA

View Nate Meadows's profile

Nate Meadows

1132 posts in 2750 days

#2 posted 02-03-2013 01:27 AM

I love your design. You have a great idea and a gifted mind. I agree with Bill. Do not try to force it. Definitely try and joint the top flat and then leave the wood free to move as it wants to throughout its lifetime. Locking it down with cause it to eventually self destruct.


-- "With a little bit of faith, and some imagination, you can build anything!" Nate

View HerbC's profile


1801 posts in 3402 days

#3 posted 02-04-2013 09:16 PM


I’m reallly impressed with your design. The base looks very organic and seems to be really good with the top.

Do NOT try to bend the top back flat. That will certainly cause it to crack. Also, be sure to allow for movement when the top is attached to the base. Do not try to immobilize the joint, either by gluing it or by screwing it tight in multiple points.

Make a router jig to flatten the top. Check the moisture content, it might make sense to let it dry longer before final flattening.

Good Luck!

Be Careful!


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View WoodenSoldier's profile


161 posts in 3488 days

#4 posted 02-05-2013 06:25 AM

Thanks guys.
I’m really starting the find my own style I think. I really enjoy the artistic freedom that modern style furniture gives me. Especially when I combine it with other more traditional styles.

Thanks for your advice on leveling the table. If it hadn’t been for you guys, I would have attempted to pull it flat with some angle iron and probably would have ruined the whole thing. I didn’t feel like setting up a router leveling jig so I just used some 60 grit sand paper on my monster belt sander and chewed the edges down to mostly flat. There is still a slight sag in the middle but it’s hardly noticeable and won’t affect the use of the table.
I’m posting some more photos in a new blog tonight.


-- Create something everyday.

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