The following story and pictures were submitted by Ed at the Windsor Plywood Winnipeg. It was started with pictures shared from a loyal customer, Boris. t (Thank you Boris! For going the extra mile, we see your hard work in your words and pictures.)
I am sending you a number of pictures that show not just the final product but some of the process steps, too.
I have worked on a number of projects, but this one was fairly large and in some ways new to me. It all started when I came to Windsor Plywood to buy paint as my wife and I started to redecorate the house. We knew we needed a new dining table and were already considering making it out of a live edge slab. There was no plan made, but then I walked into the store and immediately saw this gorgeous slab. The wood looked warm and beautiful, with a striking edge, and the width was perfect. The slab was almost flawless, and after about a week of contemplation, we decided to take the opportunity. It was the quality and the uniqueness of the slab that became the final decision point.
The size of the slab was 3-3/8” x 44” x 16’. I figured I could make a 10’ table top and use the two 3’ ends of the slab for the legs. I am an engineer and I like to first make a design of my woodworking project using DraftSight software. The project got me so excited I would sometimes wake up at night and start thinking of and coming up with good ideas and solutions.
The slab was delivered to my house at the end of January, and it took me about two months working after work and on the weekends to have it finished. One thing I have learned is, making something the first time never gives the best result. So I had to check everything several times before making each step. And yes, I know I could do some things better yet.
I built a guide jig around the slab and a sleigh for the router. I flattened both sides of the slab which brought it from 3-3/8” to 2-3/4”. I sanded the face side using a rented floor sander. I made a template for the legs by drafting them, then using my scroll saw to cut the template out of 3/8” MDF board. I used a jig saw and a router to finalize the shape of the template.
The table top of this thickness does not require a frame, and each leg can be attached to the top using side blocks on each side of the leg. The support blocks were attached to the legs with good epoxy. Each block had 3 holes for 3/8 x 5” stainless steel lug bolts to hold them to the table top (6 bolts per leg).
After the legs were attached to the table, it was finally ready for finishing. I used 80, 120, 220 and 320 grit sandpapers to prepare it for oiling. I also decided to use pure unmodified tung oil from Lee Valley, to finish the table. Tung oil has several advantages: it does not change the color of the wood, preserving its original color and penetrating deep and bringing up the texture. It protects wood from liquids, juices, and alcohol spills. It does not darken over time. It is food safe. The only problem with tung oil is that you have to have a lot of patience waiting for weeks to add another layer. I am still in the process of doing it.
Parota wood had it surprises! First, it appeared to be very light and easy to machine and sand. Second, it is the most irritating wood there is, with an effect of a pepper spray! On the scale of irritability, I would give it 10 out of 10. Nothing can be done with it without a good dust mask.
The job is over now and it brings us a great deal of satisfaction. My wife and I like to arrange dinners for our family and friends, and we already had a few dinners around the new table. Everybody likes to come join us even more now! Our dining room became a fabulous, warm place.
Thank you for making my project public, I hope it will encourage other folks to go for big projects.