How to make a wood slab coffee table

What is a wood slab coffee table? A wood slab coffee table is an idea that has been around for quite some time, but it has only recently taken off. The idea of the coffee table is to take a piece of reclaimed wood and

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The wooden in Most solid-wood furnishings has been sawn, planed, peeled, and sanded into uniform planks, panels, and boards. That simplifies the constructing course of, however obliterates just about any signal that the fabric as soon as got here from bushes rising in a forest. Not so with this console desk. Its high is common from two 2-inch-thick slabs sliced from the trunk of a Norway maple. The tree’s “live edges” are principally untouched—the bark was eliminated as a result of it could fall off ultimately—so they maintain the pure undulations and wormholes that give this piece its distinctive character.

Native sawmills might be good sources of live-edge slabs; that’s the place TOH normal contractor Tom Silva purchased those for this venture. It’s also possible to discover them on-line in a variety of sizes and species. Regardless of the supply, pay shut consideration to the slabs’ moisture content material (MC) and drying methodology. Ideally, a moisture meter ought to present an MC within the 6 to eight % vary. Slabs with a better MC might warp or cut up as they dry. Kiln-drying, not air-drying, the wooden ought to get the MC into the specified vary, and kill any bugs ensconced there. Even so, acclimate your slabs indoors for a number of weeks earlier than beginning work.

Reading: How to make a wood slab coffee table

Proven: Tom proudly exhibits off the live-edge console desk that he and Kevin assembled from metal hairpin legs and two thick slabs of Norway maple.

Hairpin legs: I-Semble 28-inch desk legs, 4 for $50; Rockler.

Wooden slabs: The Rustic Wooden Store.

Step 1


Illustration by Doug Adams

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Console desk steps

  1. Lower inside edges.
  2. Take away bark.
  3. Sand reside edges.
  4. Glue reduce edges.
  5. Clamp.
  6. Trim ends.
  7. Sand high.
  8. Rout and chisel leg mortises.
  9. Brush on shellac sealer.
  10. Wipe on tung oil end.
Step 2

Trim Two Edges

Photograph by Webb Chappell

Decide whether or not the reside edge will face up or down. (Right here, Tom selected “up.”) Then determine which reside edges you need to hold. Slice off the others utilizing a monitor noticed, as proven, or a round noticed and edge information. Clear, straight rip cuts are a should.

Step 3

Take away the Bark

Photograph by Webb Chappell

Tree bark gained’t stay connected for lengthy, so it’s greatest to take it off. Set a chisel on the line between the bark and the wooden, as proven, and faucet it with a hammer. The bark ought to come free in lengthy strips.

Step 4

Make a Fake Dwell Edge

Photograph by Webb Chappell

One finish of this board had a sawn edge the place a limb was reduce off. Fairly than shorten the desk, Tom approximated the contours of a reside edge by wiggling a reciprocating noticed backwards and forwards whereas making the reduce, as proven.

Step 5

Easy the Edges

Photograph by Webb Chappell

Beginning with 50-grit paper on a delicate pad, sand off the remaining bark and start smoothing the wooden. Right here, Tom makes use of a rotary sander connected to a vacuum. Take care to not take away the floor irregularities that give a reside edge its distinctive look.

Step 6

Apply the Glue

Photograph by Webb Chappell

Cowl the workbench towards glue drips and relaxation each boards face up on 2x helps. With bar clamps on the prepared, squeeze wooden glue onto the reduce edge of 1 board and unfold it evenly from finish to finish, as proven. Wipe away any glue drips on the board face with a moist fabric.

Step 7


Photograph by Webb Chappell

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Line up the boards’ reduce edges and put the clamps’ bars above and beneath the highest to forestall cupping. Wipe up the surplus glue and wait no less than a half hour earlier than eradicating the clamps. Trim the ends with a round noticed. Easy the highest and edges with a random-orbit sander and, so as, 80-, 120-, 150-, 180-, and 220-grit papers.

Step 8

Rout the Leg Mortises

Photograph by Colleen McQuaid

The underside of the tabletop isn’t milled flat, so it might rock if the legs had been simply screwed to it instantly. To stop that, Tom made a leveling jig for a plunge router (see Tip in Step 9) to chop mortises- for the legs’ bases all on the identical aircraft. To make use of the jig, flip the slab the other way up and shim it as much as slightly below the jig’s rails. Subsequent, maintain every leg in place and hint round its base. Place the jig’s sled over one base define, decrease the router, and lock its depth when the bit touches wooden. If the bit clears the wooden on the subsequent define, unlock and decrease the router once more, and relock it. But when the bit lifts the sled above the rails, don’t change the depth setting; transfer to the subsequent define. Repeat on the different outlines to search out the bottom depth setting. Then rout all of the mortises to that depth by shifting the sled, as proven.

Step 9

Make a Leveling Jig

Photograph by Colleen McQuaid
  • Rails Every one needs to be precisely the identical width (a bit wider than the highest’s thickness), useless flat on each edges, and a couple of foot longer than the highest. Clamp them to the bench on both facet of the highest.
  • Router sled Make it out of a 1-inch-thick board a bit wider than the router base and twice so long as the span between the rails. Utilizing a gap noticed, reduce a 2-inch gap within the sled’s middle—massive sufficient to allow you to see the spinning bit.
  • Router mount Heart the chuck over the opening and fix the router base to the sled. Right here, Tom used notched 2x scraps to carry the bottom in place.
Step 10

Sq. the Mortise Corners

Photograph by Colleen McQuaid

To sq. up the rounded corners left by the router bit, maintain a pointy chisel, as proven, with the bevel going through towards the mortise and the blade in keeping with the mortise edge. Give the chisel a faucet, then do the identical on the adjoining facet to create a 90-degree nook. Repeat with the opposite mortises.

Step 11

Connect the Legs

Photograph by Colleen McQuaid

Set the bottom of every leg into an L-shaped mortise and drill a pilot gap at every mounting gap within the leg base. Utilizing an impression driver, fasten all the three⁄4-inch pan-head screws supplied with the hairpin legs. The desk needs to be rock regular when set upright.

Step 12

Seal the Prime

Photograph by Colleen McQuaid

Wipe the highest and edges with denatured alcohol to take away any mud. Brush on a coat of amber shellac, as proven, to seal the wooden and provides it a heat hue. When the end is dry, in about half-hour, frivolously hand-sand with 320-grit paper and top-coat with a extra sturdy end, as defined within the subsequent step.

Step 13

Oil the Prime

Photograph by Colleen McQuaid

Sporting disposable gloves, wipe off the sanding mud with a fabric dampened in mineral spirits. Right here, Tom makes use of a second fabric to use a coat of tung oil/varnish mix over the shellac. After 5 to 10 minutes, buff the oil evenly with a 3rd fabric. To stop spontaneous combustion, get rid of all used cloths in a bucket full of water. Wait 24 hours earlier than making use of and buffing out a second coat of oil. Extra coats are optionally available, however will improve gloss and safety. In case you’d slightly use a end aside from tung oil, that’s superb; shellac is appropriate with all of them. Coat the underside in the identical method as the highest to restrict seasonal wooden motion.

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