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Project Information

Oh, the places you'll go.

The proverbial journey of this table was long and convoluted. It all started over a year ago when I purchased a maple burl slab from another woodworker at a yard sale with no idea what to make with it. I just knew it was cool and a bargain price. Fast forward a couple months when my wife and I were on vacation at the Amana Colonies and ran across a gorgeous, one of a kind, slab top desk at Amana Furniture. That started the thinker going.

I was working on a couple ideas when my wife mentioned that it would be nice if the table could provide some additional wine storage. Yeah, I can work that in. Several more go rounds of design and this was the final Sketchup plan.



Realizing that this design would push me in some areas, I decided to build a prototype out of reclaimed redwood left over from rebuilding our front porch last summer. It was a much better choice than practicing joinery on some really nice walnut.







The prototype came out well, but the base looked/felt a little heavy and my wife and I agreed that some proportions needed tweaking on the final table. Taking those into account, I started laying out and breaking down a couple slabs of walnut for the base. You can see the differences in the last project pic.

The walnut slabs came from the same tree, so color was not going to be an issue.







Once parts were roughed out, I made a negative space template out of posterboard in order to find the best grain alignment for the arched pieces.



Lots of hand tool work went into the project. Legs were tapered by hand with a jack plane. All mortise and tenons are hand cut, and I even had an excuse to buy a new tool to work the arches-a Stanley #20 compass plane. There is a learning curve (pun intended), but it's a very handy addition to my plane addiction . . . . . uh, collection.







After laying out and making the holes in the arches and the four top supports, sub assembles could be glued up.



The last major step was to pull out the maple slab and start working it over.





Got it scrubbed off and mostly flat with hand planes and then placed a call to a fellow LJ for a bit of assistance. DrDirt kindly helped me to finish flattening and thicknessing the slab with his wide belt sander. Thanks, Dave. After that, voids were filled with tinted epoxy and everything was planed and sanded to a smooth surface.

All that was left was finish. Natural Watco Danish Oil on the walnut and the same, followed by multiple coats of satin wiping poly, on the top. Got it all waxed and assembled tonight.

If you made it all the way through this long winded and picture heavy post, then your journey was nearly as long as mine. Hope you enjoy and thank you for looking.

Gallery

Comments

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Premium Member
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JayT the result matches the planning and prep work you poured into it. Looks great!
 

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Bam! We have a winnah. Your showing a high level of skill in your work JayT and the design really works. I really do like it.
 

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I like the design and the placement of the wine bottle storage. Nice finish on the piece too. Good idea to make a prototype-kinda reminds me of Norm . . .
 

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Beautifully designed and finished, Jay. The slab top gives it a whole different vibe than the prototype. Brings it up to higher level. Thanks for sharing.
 

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20,610 Posts
Nice work JayT
 

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244 Posts
Beautiful job JayT, really turned out well. The "thinned" up base really changes the look.
 

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Great design! I like the wine storage idea, while still showing off the Maple slab.
 

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Very nice JayT! Your hard work paid off with a beautiful piece of furniture. Thanks for showing.
 

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What a gorgeous table! The prototype is pretty cool as well but good call on lightening up the base.
 

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Give your wife a big hug and kiss for wine rack idea! It works well with the piece. Then crack a nice bottle of wine and give the table a toast! Cheers!
 

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Wow! That is a beauty. Great work, and I love how you showed how you did the prototype also. You can tell a lot of time and effort went into this.
 

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Thanks for the kind comments.

Good idea to make a prototype-kinda reminds me of Norm . . .

- Don Broussard
Now if I just had his shop and sponsors!

The "thinned" up base really changes the look.

- byerbyer
Yep, the wine storage holes change it more than expected, too. Now if I could just use the same techniques to thin up my own base, that would be cool.

Give your wife a big hug and kiss for wine rack idea! It works well with the piece.

- Roman Hrytsak
Will do. Her original idea was just a square frame in between the legs and she couldn't understand why I would spend the time and effort to do it this way. Even showing the Sketchup and doing the prototype, she was still questioning. It wasn't until the piece was complete and she could see how the arches and circles complemented the burl grain and shape of the maple that it clicked. She's got a fabulous designer's eye, but just didn't quite understand what the maple was going to look like from the yellowish slab I started with.

The wine storage was her idea and forced me to push the design farther than I had starting out. The extra time and effort was definitely worth it, though. (Plus, the very first design wouldn't have required a compass plane, so I got a new tool with no push back. Woohoo!)
 

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Wow, that top looks like a marble slab. Beautiful work and your design is outstanding.

Between this and your shooting plane, you have gained my respect :)
 

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Stanley #20. check! I mean, if I get me one of those, then I can build tables like this. right?

Well, maybe not, but I should get one anyway.

Nice work!

-Paul
 

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I knew it was going to be good when you showed you progress, but that is damn well exceptional!
 

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It turned out beautifully, Jay! And I agree-you've gotta uncork a bottle to toast it!
 
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