Cocktail table for Martha's Hideaway

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Project by MarkTheFiddler posted 10-23-2012 02:06 AM 2246 views 4 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Howdy Lumberjocks,

I joined you all about 5 months ago. I found some very incredible people here who were always willing to give sound advice. With your help, I was able to create something out of wood that I never could imagine. Nothing I have ever done even remotely comes close to this table. I’ve got to say it’s not perfect. I will never try to convince anyone of that.

My two children have both told my wife and I that this table will never leave the family as long as they live. My heart soared.

My friends you have taught me so much and put up with my little questions about this and that. Your patience has been incredible. Your encouragement was thrilling and at times, motivating. I’m going to do better on the next project because I am not the same woodworker who joined lumberjocks. This is a website with a purpose and what an awesome purpose.

Grandpa Len – Thank you my friend for being an incredible mentor.

Here is the rundown.
The reddish wood on top is brazillian cherry I found in a dumpster. The Oak diamonds and triangles on top came from a drawer front that someone kicked to the curb. The oak frame and border around the top came from a recycled oak counter top that I paid 10 dollars for at a habitat for humanity restore.

Biggest flaw? Never use steel wool on wet unprotected wood. The base was stained pretty bad with it and I had to decide to rebuild it or finish. I opted to finish.

What could have made the table better? The base wood should have been the exact same thickness as the border and I’d like to learn how to do some joinery.

Thanks for looking!


-- Thanks for all the lessons!

18 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

23362 posts in 3610 days

#1 posted 10-23-2012 02:11 AM

Mark, that is one beautiful table!!............Jim

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

View patron's profile


13653 posts in 3846 days

#2 posted 10-23-2012 02:13 AM

this came out really great mark

and well …
the things we learn along the way
aren’t always where we think they are

a real ‘family treasure’

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View waho6o9's profile


8767 posts in 3082 days

#3 posted 10-23-2012 02:20 AM

Fine looking heirloom you made Mark. Good job.

View lanwater's profile


3113 posts in 3439 days

#4 posted 10-23-2012 03:27 AM

It came out really good Mark. It’s very unique.

It’s amazing what you did with recycled wood.
I am very sure we will see some more amazing projects from you in the future.

Well done my friend!

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View KOVA's profile


1362 posts in 2883 days

#5 posted 10-23-2012 04:46 AM



View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

1095 posts in 2817 days

#6 posted 10-23-2012 08:15 AM

Excellent piece of workmanship. Well worth all the effort you put into it. A new family heirloom.

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View Foegk's profile


29 posts in 2805 days

#7 posted 10-23-2012 09:05 AM

Mark that is a fine effort and one that particularly takes my interest, with the wood mosaics, keep up the great work

-- Bryan

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2753 days

#8 posted 10-23-2012 12:12 PM

That came out amazing. I love the top. What finish did you use?


View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 2693 days

#9 posted 10-23-2012 12:49 PM

Wow, thank you all for the compliments. I really appreciate you all.

Finish 320 grit. Wiped base with water to raise up the loose stuff. Tried 00000 steel wool on wet wood for base. Bad mistake because it stained the wood. Wiped top with water and used 320 grit – much better! Rubbed tung oil in with sections of old white bed sheets. Waited 3 days. Sanded with 00000 steel wool. Tung oil. 3 days. Wool etc. I rubbed in 4 coats.

I used The wood river brand tung oil they sell at woodcraft. To my surprise, it was less expensive than the stuff at lowes.

Can you help me tweak this method so I can do better next time? I am very happy with it but you all know way better than I.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View dobiewon's profile


15 posts in 2593 days

#10 posted 10-23-2012 02:38 PM

Lots of math! you did really nice.

-- dobiewon

View GrandpaLen's profile


1652 posts in 2777 days

#11 posted 10-23-2012 03:27 PM


Your table is Beautiful.

Your efforts and skill will live on forever in your projects. As you challenged yourself to bring your vision to fruition, you gained confidence in yourself. As you develope your woodworking skills there will be times when descisions [ H2O + Fe = rust ] may not manifest themselves to your expectations. Don’t let it interfere with your creativity. It’s just wood, until you say it’s an accomplishment worthy of presentation. ...and they all may not be, as we have all learned.

I humbly appreciate being listed in the credits of your journey, but it was you who envisioned your ‘Phoenix’ rising from the reclaimed lumber.

You’ve done yourself proud, now it is up to you to ‘Pay it Forward’ to one who asks for help.

Best Regards, your friend. – Grandpa Len

P.S. ...a ‘Wink and a Nod’ from Mother Nature for repurposing that lumber so beautifully.

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View Ken90712's profile


17739 posts in 3694 days

#12 posted 10-23-2012 05:14 PM

Great job and cool story. Yor onthe right track some great people on here and always willing to help one another. I love this site. Look fwd to seeing more.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2990 days

#13 posted 10-23-2012 06:42 PM

All that geometry…my head hurts! Well done.

-- Brian Timmons -

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2753 days

#14 posted 10-24-2012 01:15 AM

I’m not sure you need tweaking, it looks terrific!
I generally don’t use steel wool on an oil varnish finish. I slap on the first two coats; no sanding. After the second coat has dried for a few days, I use 600 grit automotive sand paper damped with mineral spirits and get it smooth. I may apply another coat, but generally I switch to a wiping varnish like GF Arm-R-Seal. Oil/varnish blends offer very little protection so something I think someone will set a glass on gets some sort of top coat over it.

On something like a box, I’ll do 3 coats of an oil/varnish. Once it has cured for 10 days, I wipe it down with a paper bag, then rub in some furniture wax with 0000 steel wool.


View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 2693 days

#15 posted 10-24-2012 03:33 AM

Howdy again, your kind and generous comments are very heartening. I can’t thank you enough!

As for the math headaches, I can’t believe what I’m going to try next. I wish I could talk myself out of it. When I get a bug on the brain, It doesn’t go away. I just have to go for it.

Brian, I’m curious. Did you get to watch the demo at 6 flags? I’m going to miss the flashback.

Joe, I rechecked my package of steel wool. It is 0000 not 00000. I’m going to try your method after my current project is done. I’m making some simple end tables to go with the cocktail table. I’m sticking with same finish method to stay consistent.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

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