Black Ash (I think) and Laurel chair side table

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Project by MalcolmLaurel posted 04-09-2016 01:25 AM 1320 views 2 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The local reclaimed lumber place has a couple of barrels outside, where they sell scraps they deem not good for anything but firewood. They ask $10 for as much as you can fit in a wheelbarrow, all proceeds to the local soup kitchen. Those scraps may not be enough to remodel a house, but they’re perfect for my kind of work. The top of this table was actually two of those scraps. I presume it split when the building was being demolished, and the split end cut off and thrown in the scrap bin. I glued it back together, planed it almost flat with a hand plane (it was quite warped and I don’t own a planer), and now I can’t even see the split. The big knot and two small gouges on that end I filled with clear casting epoxy, but the other nail and worm holes I left as is. I think it’s black ash, though others have suggested it might be mulberry. One side was split along the grain line and I liked the look, so I did the same on the other side using a froe and drawknife.

The base is a piece of mountain laurel that’s been getting in the way around my shop for a year or so. Tying the laurel base into the table top are two pieces of what I think is maple, also from the scrap barrel.

After it was all permanently glued together and almost ready for finishing, I was sanding the top and the smallest leg cracked and came loose, and the table fell over. The hollow spot you can see in the pictures extended farther than I thought, and a crack opened up on the underside I thought it was a goner, but with some Titebond and three long screws, invisible from the top, it’s holding together just fine.

Finish is multiple coats of shellac all over, followed by three coats of Deft semi-gloss brushing lacquer on the tabletop to protect it from spilled drinks. It’s a bit tippy if you put too much weight on the back corner opposite the knot, but it’s really intended for no more than a book and a drink.

I have one more piece of the tabletop wood, not quite as big or interesting grained but worth making another for a matched pair. Just gotta find a complementary base…

-- Malcolm Laurel -

5 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

25343 posts in 3991 days

#1 posted 04-09-2016 12:02 PM

Nice save and good engineering for the base. I also like to use cactus for legs like that.

How do you fasten the base to the is there another ring on the branch that is screwed onto the top?


-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View MalcolmLaurel's profile


303 posts in 2508 days

#2 posted 04-09-2016 12:10 PM

There are two pieces of maple (you can barely see one of them in a couple of the pictures), glued and screwed into the base with 3” long screws. Then the tabletop is glued to those maple pieces, and screwed from the underside.

-- Malcolm Laurel -

View leafherder's profile


1969 posts in 2837 days

#3 posted 04-09-2016 02:12 PM

Beautiful table. In my experience Mulberry will be softer than Ash – easier to dent, and will have a more satiny sheen after you apply the shellac. Thanks for posting.

-- Leafherder

View saw4fun's profile


176 posts in 4225 days

#4 posted 04-10-2016 05:08 AM

Very neat table! Then end-grain really reminds me of mulberry, as well as the splitting.

View lizardhead's profile


653 posts in 3727 days

#5 posted 04-15-2016 04:50 PM

That’s kind of cool

-- Good, Better, Best--Never let it rest---Always make your Good be Better & your Better Best

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