Plant Table -- First Woodworking Project

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Project by dustyal posted 01-28-2009 07:01 PM 3429 views 5 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Plant Table -- First Woodworking Project
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I’ve been hesitant in posting my first woodworking project.— a small plant table that my wife wanted. I am one of those intimidated beginners that Todd Clippinger mentions in his welcome video. So, go easy on me? I’m in awe of the work I see on this site.

My wife wanted a plant table of specific size and she “expressed desire” for me to use a piece of slab wood she picked up while visiting Mystic, Connecticut. The rough and ugly slab came from the wood the craftsman shipbuilders used when building the reproduction slave ship, Amistad. I had been “storing” this piece on the firewood pile for several years. Each year I’d bring it in and declare it to be that season’s Yule log. Annually, she would declare something different and back to the wood pile it would go. After a few years of that she chose to move it to her mother’s garage—for another six years of safekeeping.

So, lesson one in woodworking— if she wants it so, make it so, and leave it at that.

The legs are cherry—the top is from the slab. I made it a three point landing so it would be less inclined to rock. The slab chunk was actually easy to work and it has a very nice cherry-mahogany like look and colorization once a few layers are peeled away. I believe it is a African mahogany used in shipbuilding as a teak substitute. I only “smoothed” the top. Note, I didn’t say I flattened it. A straight edge will show that it is high along the edges and low in dead center. I call that “design intent.” When she waters the plants, the excess will run toward the center of the table and not off the table onto her hardwood floors.

Anyway, she is satisfied as it fits into the space where she needed it. I picked up many lessons learned and some simple skills that require more practice. It was a good first project… since nothing was square, flat, or plumb—thus mistakes made are not too obvious at first glance. I wish I had the insight from the Mason-Dixon woodworkers club before I had started! That’s a great group of helpful masters.

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

24 comments so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5680 days

#1 posted 01-28-2009 07:26 PM

Man, what are you hesitant about?!

I think this piece shows that you have a natural talent for design. And that design feature that keeps water from running off onto the floor is brilliant. :-) (And I’m not kiiding about the nice design.)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View woodworm's profile


14477 posts in 5052 days

#2 posted 01-28-2009 07:31 PM

The shape of the top is really beautiful.
Great work Al!

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View PetVet's profile


329 posts in 4949 days

#3 posted 01-28-2009 07:34 PM

Al, can I use your phrase “design intent”? I see a lot of potential with it in describing my woodworking efforts… :) Really nice stand!

-- Rich in Richmond -- Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

View fred4999's profile


107 posts in 4946 days

#4 posted 01-28-2009 08:09 PM

Good job, I like the way you rounded the leg tops or made them look as if they grew from the slab.

-- Fred, Georgia

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 5261 days

#5 posted 01-28-2009 08:22 PM

looks great to me. I like the mass and curves of it,and your joinery worked out great.

-- making sawdust....

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2659 posts in 4988 days

#6 posted 01-28-2009 08:45 PM

Beautiful style! Great work!

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 5561 days

#7 posted 01-28-2009 09:32 PM

I would be proud to post that project. You have displayed some serious design sense in your first project.

This looks great and I can’t wait to see what else you come up with.

Nice design and craftsmanship – Thanks for sharing!

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View mmh's profile


3701 posts in 5184 days

#8 posted 01-28-2009 09:56 PM

Beautifully done! It surely does not look like a “First Project”. I’m enjoying the history of this slab and I love the shape. I’m impressed and hope to see more of your work. Keep on creating.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View SnowyRiver's profile


51456 posts in 4942 days

#9 posted 01-28-2009 11:33 PM

Very nice job…its beautiful,

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View tinnman65's profile


1444 posts in 4876 days

#10 posted 01-28-2009 11:34 PM

Nice work, I took me years to pull myself away from the project books I had before I would try something on my own. I was stuck in my own little comfort zone. First project and nice design way to go.

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View BarryW's profile


1016 posts in 5368 days

#11 posted 01-28-2009 11:51 PM

Not worth hesitating for anything…thank you for posting this simple design that accomplishes so much in a stylish way.

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

View jamieb's profile


9 posts in 4869 days

#12 posted 01-29-2009 12:03 AM

This is your first woodworking project? Wow, wish I could have made something like that on my first attempt. Thanks for sharing.

-- Woodworker? Nah, I'm a clamp collector and expert in sawdust production.

View ferstler's profile


342 posts in 4982 days

#13 posted 01-29-2009 01:01 AM

My first project was a small lamp stand that was relatively easy to build. You too a bigger leap, and the effort paid off. You have serious talent.

View woodsman's profile


61 posts in 4890 days

#14 posted 01-29-2009 01:32 AM

When I see something and it makes me think of things to build as this table did, I offer that up as a big Compliment. Job well done.

View brianinpa's profile


1812 posts in 5185 days

#15 posted 01-29-2009 01:36 AM

We are our own worst critic. That looks great and nothing to be hesitant about!

-- Brian, Lebanon PA, If you aren’t having fun doing it, find something else to do.

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