Live Edge Cherry Dining Table

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Project by Michael Sanders posted 06-09-2013 11:47 AM 4217 views 10 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The project started when a client asked me to make him some furniture from a 15’ long, 18”-22” wide 8/4 slab of cherry he had in storage. He had the tree taken down on his property on the sea islands of Beaufort, SC. I grew up in this area, and was thrilled to have the opportunity to work some local wood, especially cherry, which is pretty uncommon in the world of southern yellow pine. And it was a whole slab with live edges, the sort of material I always wanted to work with, but had never had the chance.

He wanted a small dining table for a corner banquet, and a coffee table. He had seen my previous work, and wanted me to build whatever I thought would be cool. He liked the idea of two individual slabs to create the table surface, but that was all the input he had. I could see what I wanted to build almost immediately. I put my thoughts into Sketchup, showed him the concepts, and cut the 15’ foot slab into 8’ and 7’ pieces. He also provided some narrower 8/4 stock from the same tree, and an additional small slab that I was supposed to be able to keep for myself. I loaded it all in my ragged little old Tacoma, and headed back to Charleston to commence the work.

I cut the 8’ piece in half to create the dining table top, which was to finish at ~39”x48”. I flattened the slabs with a router sled on parallel bars. The figure in the wood showed even through the rough surface left by the router, but after I sanded it from there it became apparent that I was dealing with some of the most beautiful cherry I had ever seen. Once I had them flat and cleaned the bark from the edges, I beveled the bottom edges of the 1 3/4” thick slabs to make them appear 3/4” thick. I did this primarily with a powered hand planer.

The base was sort of inspired by the work of Nakashima, especially his joinery techniques used to build the Conoid chair. I rough cut all of the extra material the client had given me, and started milling it when i realized that 2 of the 4 sticks he had given me were actually white oak. They were very rough and dirty when I got them and had no idea they we a different species until I pushed them through my jointer. I probably could have incorporated them into the design if I had known before I chopped them up, but inevitably I had to put the oak aside and butcher the cherry slab I intended to keep for myself. Bummer. I managed to make enough material out of it and complete the base, though slightly redesigned.

I finished it with boiled linseed oil, followed by Sealcoat shellac, and a 50% thinned Minwax semi-gloss poly, wiped on 3x. I finished the finish with steel wool and briwax.

This project came out fantastic and the client couldn’t have been happier. I will describe the coffee table more in it’s own story.

-- Michael Sanders, Charleston, SC, "Tight joints and clean lines"

24 comments so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30461 posts in 2880 days

#1 posted 06-09-2013 11:55 AM

Very nice work

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 2732 days

#2 posted 06-09-2013 12:01 PM

beautiful table,nice build.

welcome to lumberjocks!!!!

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3409 days

#3 posted 06-09-2013 12:41 PM

Nice work. It looks really good.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Arthouse's profile


250 posts in 3192 days

#4 posted 06-09-2013 12:43 PM

Love the simplicity of your design and feel you have a good eye. I wonder why you decided to leave a hole in the middle of a table. Good luck.

-- "The hand is the cutting edge of the mind but the wind and sun are the healing factors of the heart

View Michael Sanders's profile

Michael Sanders

12 posts in 2355 days

#5 posted 06-09-2013 12:50 PM

Thanks all! Arthouse, the client wanted to leave the slabs unjoined. He had seen a piece with two individual slabs before and loved the idea. Personally, i would have glued them up.

-- Michael Sanders, Charleston, SC, "Tight joints and clean lines"

View kokayak's profile


43 posts in 2375 days

#6 posted 06-09-2013 01:00 PM


View workerinwood's profile


2717 posts in 3609 days

#7 posted 06-09-2013 01:18 PM

Wow!! Very creative design, love the wood-great job. Thanks for posting and welcome to LJ’s

-- Jack, Albuquerque

View scrollsaw's profile


13032 posts in 4396 days

#8 posted 06-09-2013 01:46 PM

Nice job.

-- Todd

View Woodwrecker's profile


4234 posts in 4118 days

#9 posted 06-09-2013 02:35 PM

Nice work Mike.
And welcome to Lumberjocks.

View a1Jim's profile


117746 posts in 4119 days

#10 posted 06-09-2013 02:41 PM

Welcome to Ljs
Fantastic table

View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 2366 days

#11 posted 06-09-2013 05:07 PM

Wow really beautiful table. This table and the coffee table are two great projects….well done.

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

View Devin's profile


166 posts in 4070 days

#12 posted 06-09-2013 05:37 PM

Nicely done, love the design of the base, big fan of Nakashima and his Conoid tables.

-- If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?

View Michael Sanders's profile

Michael Sanders

12 posts in 2355 days

#13 posted 06-09-2013 06:14 PM

Thanks for all the praise guys! I’m excited to be a part of this community!

-- Michael Sanders, Charleston, SC, "Tight joints and clean lines"

View watermark's profile


483 posts in 2485 days

#14 posted 06-09-2013 08:46 PM

Great job.

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

View david38's profile


3518 posts in 2885 days

#15 posted 06-10-2013 12:19 AM

great table

showing 1 through 15 of 24 comments

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