A knot on the table

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Project by Al Navas posted 01-24-2009 06:33 AM 3937 views 6 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a half-scale table I made to fully visualize proportions. And I got away with hand planing the bevel, as the grain reversed at the knot near the corner. This little table is the model on which I will base a full-scale table I just started building. The table is fashioned after Frank Klausz’s famous table with a beveled edge. In the full-scale table, the bevel gives a comfortable feel to the arm as it lays on the edge. Joinery: Mortise & tenon. Top thickness is 3/4 inch; the square legs are 1-1/2 inches; aprons are 2 inches wide; table height is 15.5 inches. The top is attached to the base using buttons inserted into a groove machined on the aprons – to allow for wood movement I provided a clearance of just under 1/8-inch on both of the long edges; I used screws to hold the buttons in place.

The lighter wood is quarter-sawn white oak, and the dark wood is walnut. The finish for the white oak is as follows: First, I sanded to 150 grit, followed by two thin coats of Zinsser Seal Coat applied with a rag, followed by 4 spray coats of Target Coatings’ EM2000wvx waterborne alkyd varnish, in satin sheen. I sanded to 320 grit between every coat. This finish schedule imparts a straw color to the white oak; it is reminiscent of a vintage finish. The finish for the walnut consisted of two thin coats of garnet shellac, followed by four coats of Target Coatings’ EM2000wvx waterborne alkyd varnish, satin sheen.

-- Al Navas, Country Club, MO,

10 comments so far

View BarryW's profile


1015 posts in 4445 days

#1 posted 01-24-2009 06:36 AM

a small point of character…and a great finish…you’re the man to learn from and I’ve enjoyed your videos.

-- /\/\/\ BarryW /\/\/\ Stay so busy you don't have time to die.

View Woodhacker's profile


1139 posts in 4262 days

#2 posted 01-24-2009 08:16 AM

Al this looks great. I like the wood contrast and your finish. The proportions look very nice. I’m curious…is your full scale version going to use a 3/4 top or will it be something thicker?

Thanks for posting it and I’ll be watching for the bigger version.

-- Martin, Kansas

View woodworm's profile


14475 posts in 4129 days

#3 posted 01-24-2009 08:30 AM

Great work.
I guess you are very happy to have managed taming the knot with hand plane.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4051 posts in 4603 days

#4 posted 01-24-2009 11:07 AM

Beautiful table with a refined edge. I’m glad to hear that you have found Sealcoat compatible with Target WB Alkyd.
I have used Target Optima WB Lacquer, but didn’t feel like braving the Shellac first, choosing to add a little Trans-tint to the pot. I will have to try the varnish.

Good luck in the contest!

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over two decades.

View 93mwm's profile


59 posts in 3959 days

#5 posted 01-24-2009 12:46 PM

simple but elegant

-- mwm! Before you criticise walk a mile in their shoes, and when you do criticise you will be a mile away and have their shoes!

View Al Navas's profile

Al Navas

305 posts in 4414 days

#6 posted 01-24-2009 03:03 PM

Thanks! You are kind – love to learn you like the videos.

The top will be 1-1/2 inches thick. The scale is exactly 1/2 of the final table size, including apron widths, table legs, etc. All, except the number of finish layers… :-)

You are sure right – you don’t know how the grain reacts across a knot like this, until you hit it with a hand plane.

White oak, but especially red oak, have high tannin content, which can (and the red oak will) cause funny reactions with a waterborne finish, due to the (typically) high pH of these materials. That is why I used the alcohol-based Seal Coat on the white oak. You truly minimize the risk with white oak, by applying very thin coats of Seal Coat before using either USL, or the new (and latest) EM2000wvx alkyd varnish. The EM2000 sprays beautifully!


You have all made my day! Now I can go back to the shop and tackle the 8/4 boards for the top. If you have never used white oak: It is is heavy, hard, and tough as nails.

-- Al Navas, Country Club, MO,

View lew's profile


12881 posts in 4294 days

#7 posted 01-24-2009 06:30 PM

Gorgeous Table! The combination of the two types of wood offers a stunning visual effect!

Good Luck in the contest.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Al Navas's profile

Al Navas

305 posts in 4414 days

#8 posted 01-25-2009 12:56 AM

Thanks, Lew. I appreciate your kind words. My client wanted something different. I have already kicked off the build of the full scale table so in the next few weeks I will know if my muscles need rescue… ;-)

-- Al Navas, Country Club, MO,

View Dusty56's profile


11852 posts in 4227 days

#9 posted 01-26-2009 04:43 PM

Beautiful design and I really like the knot inclusion : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Al Navas's profile

Al Navas

305 posts in 4414 days

#10 posted 01-30-2009 02:50 PM

Thanks, Dusty!

-- Al Navas, Country Club, MO,

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