Finished until it's refinished.

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Project by muleskinner posted 04-29-2013 07:49 PM 1896 views 2 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

After my previous project I thought I’d try something a little less rustic.

My wife didn’t like the coffee table in the TV room – a heavy, too big slab of butcher block oak. She had no preference of what to replace it with and this cherry was just taking up room in the garage. I just winged it as far as design goes. I wrote down a height and table top dimensions and that was the extent of my plans. From there I just started cutting and gluing. I built the top first and then just put something together to hold it off the floor. I tried to find some of those little offset metal clips to hold the top on but nobody out here in the boonies seemed to know what I was talking about hence the wooden hold downs.

I’m okay with the proportions and structure. The finish on the other hand is bothering me. This is the first time I’ve built a substantial piece with cherry and I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I ended up doing natural Danish oil and then a few coat of semi-gloss poly. (I’m pretty unimaginative and lazy when it comes to finish) It turned out blotchy and I’m tempted to take a belt sander to it and try again. But for now I’m just going to grab a beer, hit the couch, put my feet up and watch some baseball.

-- Visualize whirled peas

14 comments so far

View madts's profile


1904 posts in 2820 days

#1 posted 04-29-2013 08:06 PM

I agree that the beer approach is the right one. Other ideas will come later.

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View patron's profile


13650 posts in 3822 days

#2 posted 04-29-2013 09:56 PM

i agree
i like this much better
than the last table

it is perfect for watching baseball

it looks good as is
don’t tell the wife cherry can be hard to finish

she may not know that
and think this is just great
tell her i agree with her
if she does

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

View Jpedi's profile


100 posts in 2540 days

#3 posted 04-30-2013 02:52 AM

Hey, no need to get violent with that belt sander! Just do some fine steel wool rubbing and have another go at it with what you used already! After the game, of course…. It looks fabulous from here, anyway….. you done good!

OR here’s an idea, just try something different on the NEXT one if you want another look. Then just ship the “old” one you don’t like to me….. :> I’ve got a place for it!

View Robb's profile


660 posts in 4415 days

#4 posted 04-30-2013 06:42 AM

I think it looks great, too. I really like the inlay, and your home-brewed system for attaching the top.

-- Robb

View stefang's profile


16717 posts in 3815 days

#5 posted 04-30-2013 11:02 AM

Beautiful table. The finish and color looks great to me. If it is blotched, I’ve heard that a ground coat of shellac prevents that. I don’t know for sure as I have never used shellac myself, being another not fan of finishing.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3347 days

#6 posted 04-30-2013 12:42 PM

I personally like the wood doing what it wants to when it is finished. I don’t have any objection at all to the design of the table. It is simple enough and serves a practical purpose. All is well that ends well and who is to say what a good ending is anyway? I like the table well enough so good work.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View muleskinner's profile


935 posts in 2917 days

#7 posted 04-30-2013 01:36 PM

Thanks all.

Patron – I’m doing a companion end table now. If I tell my wife that this is how it’s supposed to look and the end table turns out better then she’ll think I screwed it up. No win.

Madts – it does look better with a few beer bottles scattered about on it.

Jpedi – I think the oil is where I went wrong, either not enough or too much. I could just ship it to you with a couple of bags of wool pads and let you have a go at it. I’d want it back when you’re done, though.

Robb – thanks. It’s funny how sometimes the little unseen things (like the hold downs) give a guy satisfaction with a project.

Stefang – I’ve read countless finishing threads here and all the finish schedules intimidate me. I’m usually so pleased that I’ve built something square and flat that I don’t want to experiment with a new lengthy finishing technique and risk really screwing it up. In my dusty old garage, finishing means nothing else is going to happen while it’s going on. It’s as boring as watching paint dry.

Charles – I usually like a natural look. I hardly every stain anything and use poly on just about everything. I put a couple of coats on a scrap and thought the oil would add a little more richness. Should have experimented more. thanks.

-- Visualize whirled peas

View CharlieM1958's profile


16283 posts in 4699 days

#8 posted 04-30-2013 07:34 PM

Blotchy my a$$.... it looks great!

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

View Jpedi's profile


100 posts in 2540 days

#9 posted 05-08-2013 02:38 AM

Great idea! Send it on! I’ll rub and polish then ship it right back to you…. eventually…. maybe after a few years…. or decades…. OK, I’ll put it in my will.

View vipond33's profile


1405 posts in 2978 days

#10 posted 05-11-2013 12:39 AM

It may be simple, but I’m a sucker for slats and you’ve also got a real nice detail going at the base with those offset curves.
finishing means nothing else is going to happen while it’s going on. It’s as boring as watching paint dry
But that’s the beauty of shellac, it’s dry almost instantly. Give it a whirl with your next helping of peas.

-- [email protected] : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7796 posts in 3395 days

#11 posted 05-16-2013 11:14 PM

Great looking table, IF you can keep from using using the bottom shelf as a catch-all. My workbench has turned into just that. Be warned… ;-)

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View muleskinner's profile


935 posts in 2917 days

#12 posted 05-17-2013 02:13 AM

Mike, that warning is way, way, way too late. The coffee table is still pretty clutter free, few magazines is all. My shop is another story. My table saw has a fifty inches of rip on the right side. On a good day I can push the fence out to about sixteen inches before shit starts falling off the end. And my outfeed table, well lets just say that that 16 inch rip better not be too long. There’s a reason I don’t post build pictures with my projects. It’s kind of embarrassing. :^)

-- Visualize whirled peas

View oldnovice's profile


7498 posts in 3848 days

#13 posted 05-17-2013 05:53 AM

Any better would be obscene!

I see nothing wrong that the pictures show and besides that the design was “winged” near perfect.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View muleskinner's profile


935 posts in 2917 days

#14 posted 05-17-2013 04:44 PM

Thanks Hans. I’m winging it again on a companion end table. And now I found after having glued the major components together that I screwed up one cut by a saw kerf. I’m going to have to flap a little harder to come up with a fix.

-- Visualize whirled peas

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