Walnut and Maple Burl Slab Wine Table

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Project by JayT posted 09-10-2015 01:55 AM 3029 views 12 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Oh, the places you’ll go.

The proverbial journey of this table was long and convoluted. It all started over a year ago when I purchased a maple burl slab from another woodworker at a yard sale with no idea what to make with it. I just knew it was cool and a bargain price. Fast forward a couple months when my wife and I were on vacation at the Amana Colonies and ran across a gorgeous, one of a kind, slab top desk at Amana Furniture. That started the thinker going.

I was working on a couple ideas when my wife mentioned that it would be nice if the table could provide some additional wine storage. Yeah, I can work that in. Several more go rounds of design and this was the final Sketchup plan.

Realizing that this design would push me in some areas, I decided to build a prototype out of reclaimed redwood left over from rebuilding our front porch last summer. It was a much better choice than practicing joinery on some really nice walnut.

The prototype came out well, but the base looked/felt a little heavy and my wife and I agreed that some proportions needed tweaking on the final table. Taking those into account, I started laying out and breaking down a couple slabs of walnut for the base. You can see the differences in the last project pic.

The walnut slabs came from the same tree, so color was not going to be an issue.

Once parts were roughed out, I made a negative space template out of posterboard in order to find the best grain alignment for the arched pieces.

Lots of hand tool work went into the project. Legs were tapered by hand with a jack plane. All mortise and tenons are hand cut, and I even had an excuse to buy a new tool to work the arches—a Stanley #20 compass plane. There is a learning curve (pun intended), but it’s a very handy addition to my plane addiction . . . . . uh, collection.

After laying out and making the holes in the arches and the four top supports, sub assembles could be glued up.

The last major step was to pull out the maple slab and start working it over.

Got it scrubbed off and mostly flat with hand planes and then placed a call to a fellow LJ for a bit of assistance. DrDirt kindly helped me to finish flattening and thicknessing the slab with his wide belt sander. Thanks, Dave. After that, voids were filled with tinted epoxy and everything was planed and sanded to a smooth surface.

All that was left was finish. Natural Watco Danish Oil on the walnut and the same, followed by multiple coats of satin wiping poly, on the top. Got it all waxed and assembled tonight.

If you made it all the way through this long winded and picture heavy post, then your journey was nearly as long as mine. Hope you enjoy and thank you for looking.

-- - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

24 comments so far

View NinjaAssassin's profile


651 posts in 2366 days

#1 posted 09-10-2015 02:02 AM

Good work JayT!!

-- Billy

View CL810's profile


3991 posts in 3630 days

#2 posted 09-10-2015 02:17 AM

JayT the result matches the planning and prep work you poured into it. Looks great!

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

View theoldfart's profile


11143 posts in 3093 days

#3 posted 09-10-2015 02:22 AM

Bam! We have a winnah. Your showing a high level of skill in your work JayT and the design really works. I really do like it.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

3858 posts in 2893 days

#4 posted 09-10-2015 02:35 AM

I like the design and the placement of the wine bottle storage. Nice finish on the piece too. Good idea to make a prototype—kinda reminds me of Norm . . .

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View CFrye's profile


10864 posts in 2482 days

#5 posted 09-10-2015 03:15 AM

Beautifully designed and finished, Jay. The slab top gives it a whole different vibe than the prototype. Brings it up to higher level. Thanks for sharing.

-- God bless, Candy

View Don W's profile

Don W

19500 posts in 3209 days

#6 posted 09-10-2015 09:27 AM

Nice work JayT

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View byerbyer's profile


241 posts in 2614 days

#7 posted 09-10-2015 12:46 PM

Beautiful job JayT, really turned out well. The “thinned” up base really changes the look.

-- Byer-- "Comparison is the thief of joy" -- T.R. Roosevelt

View Puffball's profile


44 posts in 1854 days

#8 posted 09-10-2015 01:00 PM

Great design! I like the wine storage idea, while still showing off the Maple slab.

View Hammerthumb's profile


3011 posts in 2617 days

#9 posted 09-10-2015 01:32 PM

Very nice JayT! Your hard work paid off with a beautiful piece of furniture. Thanks for showing.

-- Paul, Duvall, WA

View david38's profile


3518 posts in 2985 days

#10 posted 09-10-2015 01:39 PM

looks great

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3332 days

#11 posted 09-10-2015 02:19 PM

What a gorgeous table! The prototype is pretty cool as well but good call on lightening up the base.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View CampD's profile


1815 posts in 4128 days

#12 posted 09-10-2015 02:53 PM

That’s a beaut! nice design.

-- Doug...

View mahdee's profile


4291 posts in 2409 days

#13 posted 09-10-2015 03:17 PM

Looks really nice. Thanks


View Roman - THE BOOTMAN's profile


1019 posts in 3328 days

#14 posted 09-10-2015 04:06 PM

Give your wife a big hug and kiss for wine rack idea! It works well with the piece. Then crack a nice bottle of wine and give the table a toast! Cheers!

-- Author of POWER CARVING BOOTS & SHOES - Schiffer Publishing. Available online or your favourite bookstore.

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1919 posts in 2611 days

#15 posted 09-10-2015 04:13 PM

Wow! That is a beauty. Great work, and I love how you showed how you did the prototype also. You can tell a lot of time and effort went into this.

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

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