Walnut Side Table Quandry

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Forum topic by docspencer posted 10-01-2015 08:07 PM 15489 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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391 posts in 2458 days

10-01-2015 08:07 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question walnut side table

I have two nice pieces of walnut that I plan to use to make a side table. Both pieces are variegated in color – mostly dark in the middle and lighter on the outsides. Neither piece is wide enough to use alone for the table top. In fact, I don’t like using single wide boards for table tops for fear of warping. In any event, given the differences in color deciding how to cut and put them together seems tricky. Also, until I actually start cutting I can’t visualize how different combinations of cuts and joining together would look. I hope this makes sense. I would imagine some of you folks have faced this before – any ideas about how to proceed? I can post a picture or two of the two boards if it would help.

10 replies so far

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391 posts in 2458 days

#1 posted 10-01-2015 08:34 PM

These aren’t my boards, but mine look like this.

View jdmaher's profile


461 posts in 3092 days

#2 posted 10-01-2015 10:08 PM

Cut off the sapwood (the lighter color on the outsides of the boards), then make a panel out the boards of remaining heartwood (the darker color on the inside).

You could just throw away the offcuts, but I save the sapwood as scraps for making components that will not be seen (interior components).

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

View Roger's profile


21011 posts in 3317 days

#3 posted 10-27-2015 11:48 PM

I like a little sapwood showing in some Walnut projects. That’s just me tho. Good luck with what you decide and how

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Aj2's profile


2497 posts in 2311 days

#4 posted 10-28-2015 02:23 AM

I don’t see a good set of boards for a top.I would look for better set.

-- Aj

View Daruc's profile


460 posts in 1645 days

#5 posted 10-28-2015 02:31 AM

I take a picture of the boards,
import them into a sketchup drawing,
then trim or flip as needed until you get what you want.

-- -

View MNgary's profile


313 posts in 2930 days

#6 posted 10-28-2015 04:06 AM

Please don’t confuse us with a pic of 4 pieces that ain’t what you are talking about—okay? With 2 pieces, I would just slide, flip, and look until I saw what I liked. If I didn’t see something beautiful, I’d put them on the shelf for another project.

-- I dream of a world where a duck can cross the road and no one asks why.

View Robert's profile


3539 posts in 1993 days

#7 posted 10-28-2015 11:56 AM

For a tabletop especially, in the ideal situation, you want boards cut consecutively from a log because you get the best grain match that way.

If that isn’t possible, then you at least want boards of similar grain pattern/color density.

Sounds to me like you need a diff set of boards.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View BuzzCut's profile


17 posts in 1456 days

#8 posted 11-01-2015 04:21 PM

I’s be tempted to laminate it with 1/4” maple strips between the boards.


View BurlyBob's profile


6516 posts in 2778 days

#9 posted 11-01-2015 04:24 PM

Doc if you got pieces with wild grain and want to make a conversation piece, mix the up. I like the idea of using that sap wood like Roger. It would keep it from getting boring.

View docspencer's profile


391 posts in 2458 days

#10 posted 11-01-2015 07:05 PM

Wow. Thanks for all the input. This is one top I made – sapwood included. I think I like the way the different colors show with the elliptical.

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