Redwood Burl Table

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Project by Manitario posted 04-30-2013 02:06 AM 4511 views 10 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This coffee table was very little “woodworking” in the traditional sense and a lot of sanding, smoothing and more sanding! I started with a large redwood burl slab that I thought would make a great living room coffee table. The problem was that the live edge was very irregular, fragile and splintery and there were a number of soft punky areas. With the input of some LJ’s, I used several coats of thinned epoxy on the edges and top/bottom surface to harden the soft wood and then sanded, sanded and sanded some more to round some of the very sharp edges.
Next step was to design a base; I had a number of different ideas; in the end I opted for something simple. I’m still not sure if the base is the right design for the top, or the right wood. In hindsight, I think that a darker wood (rather than the cherry) would have been a better fit for the top. Oh well. I used an oil finish on the top, followed by gloss poly (with the help of several LJ’s who gave advice on how to achieve an even gloss finish.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

22 comments so far

View BillyD3152's profile


112 posts in 2855 days

#1 posted 04-30-2013 02:45 AM

Fantastic work

-- Billy Long Island, NY

View Dave777's profile


303 posts in 5045 days

#2 posted 04-30-2013 02:55 AM

Most excellant

-- the stone rejected by the builders will become the capstone

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3666 days

#3 posted 04-30-2013 03:10 AM

That turned out just super! Old redwood is so tough for me to finish as it is like trying to finish a sponge! You nailed the finish big time. I really like the design on the legs with the curved pieces and when that cherry ages/darkens, it will be perfect for the top. Attaching that curved piece to the legs looks very challenging!

Question: how are those legs attached to the top? Picture?

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

View BusterB's profile


2298 posts in 2984 days

#4 posted 04-30-2013 03:15 AM

Thats nice….great job!!!!

-- Buster, Ocoee TN (Critics are men who watch a battle from a high place then come down and shoot the survivors - Hemingway)

View Manitario's profile


2816 posts in 3859 days

#5 posted 04-30-2013 03:26 AM

Thanks guys! Glenn: the legs are attached to the top via mortise/tenon on the underside.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View kdc68's profile


2992 posts in 3253 days

#6 posted 04-30-2013 04:04 AM

Refering to your forum topic ( ) all the work sanding paid off. This is a beautiful piece….thanks for posting/sharing your finishing topic with us

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View rivox1's profile


30 posts in 2832 days

#7 posted 04-30-2013 04:17 AM

That is amazing!

Fantastic job!

-- Cheers and Safe Woodworking!

View watermark's profile


484 posts in 2919 days

#8 posted 04-30-2013 04:39 AM

Great job! I agree the curved design for the legs looks tricky. Oh and that slab is sweet!

-- "He who has no dog, hunts with a cat" Portuguese proverb

View Don W's profile

Don W

19843 posts in 3543 days

#9 posted 04-30-2013 11:30 AM

excellent work. Nice piece.

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

View CiscoKid's profile


359 posts in 3849 days

#10 posted 04-30-2013 12:39 PM

Very beautiful. Love Nakashima style furniture.

-- Al, Culpeper VA

View garbonsai's profile


154 posts in 2931 days

#11 posted 04-30-2013 12:49 PM

I like it a lot. The only thing I would have done differently is the legs. I think the wood choice is fine, but I’d have gone with more organic edges and flowing joints—think Danish modern. Not a criticism of what you’ve done—just an idea for next time.

-- Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.

View Manitario's profile


2816 posts in 3859 days

#12 posted 04-30-2013 01:19 PM

garbonsai; you’re right, it would have looked better like that; I experimented with a number of different configurations of curved legs which didn’t look good, and eventually settled on what you see. In hindsight though, curved transitions into the stretchers and smooth legs would have looked better.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Rickterscale's profile


167 posts in 3337 days

#13 posted 04-30-2013 06:14 PM

Great work. And your finish is beautiful!

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 3166 days

#14 posted 04-30-2013 09:48 PM

very very nice,great work.

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View Gibney's profile


8 posts in 2919 days

#15 posted 05-01-2013 12:21 AM

wow – really great. inspired

showing 1 through 15 of 22 comments

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