Elm slab bowtie design input

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Forum topic by Woodensparks posted 12-15-2018 02:15 PM 594 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Woodensparks's profile


15 posts in 570 days

12-15-2018 02:15 PM

Hello im new here. Wanted some proper advice. And after reading countless times on here… Im finaly plucking the courage to register.

Im working on a 96inch by 30inch elm slab table. I have used my dewalt router and a cnc surface trepanning bit in a sled to level it both sides

Im in love with it.. My first real wood project..

4year dried and kilned to 10 rested 2 month then worked and loved..

Im now doing my bow tie keys on my crack.
The crack i am pinning is stable already it doesn’t move so my keys are for style as i know my smaller dont have strength against the slab.

My big keys are 2.5inch was told to stay below 3 to avoid twists.

I posted on fb before i drill them out and had mixed comments

Some saying its too many and looks like stitches
Others saying they like it.. And some love..

For me I’d have it anyday. But being as this is my first project at a hope to sell and start my business i am scared to drill, i want more opinions and advice
From the lumberjocks hehe

Ive seen tables battered in keys others few n far between its personal prefrence i guess..

My keys are from solid oak btw all british trees and love them so much i dont want to ruin them

12 replies so far

View mahdee's profile


4291 posts in 2540 days

#1 posted 12-15-2018 02:46 PM

I am with the stitch crowd. Maybe use something other than a bowtie.


View Aj2's profile


3079 posts in 2570 days

#2 posted 12-15-2018 03:01 PM

Yep too many. The bow ties should not be the star of the show. If you feel the need to do them put them on the underside. If you add one or two to the top hide them so they don’t stand out.
It is a beautiful piece of wood naturally. Your job is to bring that out so keep your ego out :)
Good Luck

-- Aj

View Woodensparks's profile


15 posts in 570 days

#3 posted 12-15-2018 03:16 PM

Thankyou somuch. Your words are the best ive heard and thankyou i am so inlove with woodwork i want to perfect my work to the best i can possible id hate to do somthing and spoil it

But dont the bowties add like decoration? I just really have loved the bowties on many pieces and to see them is amazing. But i do see what your saying at the same time… Im trapped between it looks amazing and i dont want to kill it either with my own prefrence… But surely others share my taste too?

Arggh its so hard as once i cut it its cut.. Lol

View 000's profile


2859 posts in 1671 days

#4 posted 12-15-2018 03:21 PM

I don’t think it’s too much.
Everybody does the standard 2-3, dare to be different.
I say go with what you like.

I just wouldn’t use oak, maybe walnut/wenge for more contrast.

View Woodensparks's profile


15 posts in 570 days

#5 posted 12-15-2018 03:33 PM

Great words thankyou.. And yea its different thats what i hope its meant to be unique its a tree so confusing why others dont like it

Ive been looking at wallnut offcuts for ties i did think abou it

View jutsFL's profile


198 posts in 613 days

#6 posted 12-15-2018 03:44 PM

More or less is all up to preference. Personally, I dont mind the number you have on there at all – buuuuuut, my preference would be for a more contrasting wood choice for them.

-- I've quickly learned that being a woodworker isn't about making flawless work, rather it's fixing all the mistakes you made so that it appears flawless to others! Jay - FL

View Manitario's profile


2816 posts in 3655 days

#7 posted 12-15-2018 06:35 PM

Yeah the trend in bowties seems to be “the more the better”, which I think makes the piece look cheap and tacky. They should be an accent for a slab not the focus of attention. Google “Nakashima” for some inspiration. He was one of the original slab furniture/bowtie designers and his pieces are timeless classics.

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

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15 posts in 570 days

#8 posted 12-15-2018 06:45 PM

Yeah ive seen him before made some nice work but i find them too simple i like the crastmanship and wow but its the kinda table id put in me mothers house i personaly dont find it my style

Some of the best wows for me was a table i saw looked like it was ziped up the middle they even had a metal zipper off it. I dont think it destroys the wood. My main feature is my burly edge its so sexy lol.

I will be tung oil and epoxy ing before ephanfies varnishing to finnish.

Im playing with ties. To find combos i like il post more pics see whars favored best lol

View 000's profile


2859 posts in 1671 days

#9 posted 12-15-2018 07:06 PM

I respectfully disagree with some of the above.
I can’t say for sure that there is a trend for more bowties and obviously it’s just an opinion that it looks cheap.

Woodworking is a journey. You have to do what you like or think is right.
Everybody has their own style.
If more the merrier is your style, so be it.
If you don’t like it after you do it, you will learn and not do it next time,
but if you don’t do it you may regret never knowing that it might have been your style.

When I’m making things for myself, I don’t care what anybody else thinks.
Not everything has been a home run, but I don’t regret trying any of it.


View AZWoody's profile


1477 posts in 1996 days

#10 posted 12-15-2018 07:18 PM

I’m not a fan of the bowtie look but, I’m sure some people aren’t a fan of what I prefer either. I agree with jbay, Do what feels right to you. You’re the artist here, not any of the other people commenting on this thread, including me :)

View Aj2's profile


3079 posts in 2570 days

#11 posted 12-15-2018 07:27 PM

Jbay makes a good point I agree with do what you like attitude.
I would like to see more woodworkers push them selves and try to sing their own songs. The bow tie thing has been done can we just move away.
Copying the work of a masterpiece is like listening to karaoke. It’s been done how about something new doesn’t anyone have a imagination.
In the end it’s your to do whatever and live with it.
You’ll never develop your own voice if you revolve around Naka or Sam or James etc.

-- Aj

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15 posts in 570 days

#12 posted 12-16-2018 05:33 PM

I could cry reading this thread. And thankyou somuch i have my mind set and i know what i want now im noy gona let anyone shoot me down on fb anymore its a small minority
I like what you said though il never be my own or be me if i copy and thats what i want to avoid.
I have my own style my own art and my own voice. And im sure if i like somthing someone els wil too
I love art and i dont want to be a nako no mater how good he is thats him.. I want to be me and people to see me for me

If i spend the time and love i feel it will show and theres the beauty i want to show

Thanks you so much i will be here more ive somuch to learn. But i wont let my dreams be crushed

U guys are awsome

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