Monday, February 27, 2012

Table the issue....issue the table

This will be more of a photo-blog session; except I'm not a photographer.

There it is.  It doesn't look like much, but trust me it's there.  Behind the tree?  No.  It is the tree.
Just after we moved in the borough came through and widened our street and poured new sidewalks.  I asked the contractors to drop the logs out back and they were happy to comply and have less to haul away.  So some monster logs sat beside my garage for about a year.   A co-worker was into wood and had a portable bandsaw.  He hauled the logs away and brought them back the next day as rough sawn lumber.

So I had logs drying in my garage for about 2 years until I finally came around to building something.  First was a TV stand.  My latest was a coffee table.  It is done and I've had many comments and questions so I figured I'd write more about it.

Early on I was bouncing ideas off of Becky and decided to let it be a conversation piece. 

So instead of a square finished top, it ended up being rough bark outside that is the shape of the log. 

It is about 1.75-2" thick top portion.  20" at the thickest and 50" long.  I zipped off about 10" from the flatened end because the bark came up to a very thin section.  I just thought that would separate and cause heartache later.  That top piece weighed about 60lbs.

I brough the table upstairs to burn in the heart.  The heart was Becky's idea.  I pondered it for a while before locking into it; but it was already a special piece of furniture for us, now just more so.

It was also temporarily upstairs for sizing and to see if the botttom shelf passed muster.  It's hard to tell, but I messed up pretty big.  The legs ended up being a rhombus.  They were square but ended up being skewed by about 1".

  That makes a rectangular shelf about as useful as an outie belly button.  It was obviously not centered. and caused me MUCH frustration.

So I got creative.  This is where I like woodworking.  I take a general shape and plan and have room to adapt for mistakes, but more often an idea that develops as the piece starts taking shape.  I'd hope it is room for improvements instead of corrections, but you deal with what's in front of you.

So the bottom shelf has two tapered ends and a perpendicular piece that is rabbeted in.  It's sort of like a bowtie.
I'm really happy with the grains and swirls that pulled through.  The log was cut where the a branch-off started.  That made it real tough to plane.  I hand planed the top until my frustration threshold got to match my level of acceptance.  This piece moved from tough knots to smooth well established grains to soft as butter spalting.  It was difficult to find a smooth swing that was making chips without digging in.

 I ended up with 4 coats of Helmspar Exterior Urethane.  About once a week I look at the reflection of the top finish and think about roughing it up and putting in another coat.  There are just a few puckers that could be coated better.  I filled in the big knot in the middle just so it wasn't a huge dust hole.

This shows off the shelves slightly better.  I have a "Bible Shelf" that is about 5" below the top.  There is a center support rib in the middle turning it into a front/back shelf area.  I thought this would be great for rigidity and also hidden screws.  Counterbored screws attach that board to the top, 4 screws through the shelf into the board. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I didn't realize that was from the tree outside your house. Very cool, Dan! Beautiful work.