John Wilson and four buddies are renting a house for their sophomore year at Bama; our furniture contribution for the house was to be a kitchen table. JW told me he thought it would be cool to make a living edge slab table; a table with the edges being the unfinished bark side from a tree. I reluctantly, since I had never made anything like that, agreed to make one.
We went to a sawmill in Scottsboro and after much looking chose “wormy maple” wood and cut slabs from the massive logs of a maple tree that JW picked out for its character and beauty.
We brought the slabs home and got started! First step involved joining the pieces together for the table top since there was not a single piece wide enough; this would later cause me mucho trouble!
In this above pic you can see the uneven end of the board on the right side. That would also greatly challenge me. That board is the same one from the earlier picture being cut at the sawmill.
The next step was getting the boards to an even thickness. They were too large for any standard planer so I made a planing “jig” stand for my router (which is much easier to say than for me to do!) and began planing.
After HOURS of planing with much help from Kyle Cain, the garage was covered in sawdust but the wood was relatively even and level. The uneven end shown earlier bothered me and so I carved a piece from a board that was longer than we could use and glued and joined it to that end. This worked nicely but created a low area on that end of the table that was already lower than the rest of the top. Since I wanted the table to be “bulletproof” to be ready for poker AND beer pong my plan was to coat the wood with epoxy. To use epoxy the table needed to be level and sealed with no holes or cracks for the epoxy to leak through. Thus the low end had to be built up even with the rest of the top. I made veneers of wood from the scraps of the maple and glued them over the low spot.
The low end then had many holes and cracks that needed to be sealed along with the rest of the top where the boards had been joined together. After many treatments of epoxy those leaks were plugged.
The final coat of epoxy to finish needed to be applied in one flood coat to make the table even with a smooth beautiful finish. The epoxy self levels to 1/ 8th of an inch thick and with Allison’s help mixing not more than a gallon at one time this was FINALLY accomplished. Mixing more than a gallon could result in spontaneous combustion of the epoxy! Yikes!!!
I am happy to report that the table is in Tuscaloosa and that JW and the boys seem to like it! It was a fun though challenging project for me and honestly I miss having it down in the garage. Beth and Allison do NOT miss it or the MESS! I don’t have one of the table in place but will try to get JW to get me one!