Jellyfish Table #2: Getting Started... I found my Lumber!

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Blake posted 06-23-2009 08:39 AM 3845 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Sketchup Design Part 2 of Jellyfish Table series Part 3: Legs and Base »

I went to a place called “Global Wood Source” in San Jose, which is the most amazing place I’ve ever been for lumber. The owner travels around the world in search of only the best and most amazingly figured woods. He’s got stuff you can’t find anywhere else. Check out their website and if you are anywhere near San Jose you have to stop by.

Anyway, I found the perfect lumber for my table top. Three slabs of figured maple over 2” thick. I also bought the maple for the legs, and the mahogany for the apron. And while I was at it I stocked up on mahogany 3×3 “table leg stock” for future projects, as well as a few more impulse buys. Once you get on a roll like that “Russ” starts giving you great deals on stuff. I think I was probably their best customer that day… or week? It was the best lumber shopping spree I’ve ever had… and it happened to be my birthday, so it was a good day :)

This is what my truck looked like when I came home:


Luckily I have a friend in Santa Cruz who has a large woodshop. I had to use his 19” bandsaw, 12” tablesaw, and 15” planer to get my table-top slabs milled down to a manageable size.

Here are the three rough slabs in my friend’s shop. We arranged them in a way that showed off the best figure.

Here they are back in my shop now that they’ve been planed and jointed. They are staggered in a way that makes the figure look the most continuous. I will chop them to length last.

One of my favorite tools to use:

Yum, Biscuits!

I glued it up in two stages. ONE…


Now, as you can tell from my original Sketchup, I had originally planned to have a natural edge in the front of the table.

But nothing was available that fit all my criteria. So I found that piece with the long curved void through the middle and thought I would put that in the front of the table instead.

But as I was clamping that piece on the uneven tension broke the front of that void. I didn’t even flinch. I knew instantly that it was a good thing, and I knew just what to do. It had been bugging me the whole time anyway.

So I put the giant glued-up table top on my bandsaw and turned that void into a “semi-natural edge.”

Now that I actually have sharp hand tools (thanks to my best friend the WorkSharp) I am starting to reap the benefits. I got to enjoy the quiet, therapeutic sattisfaction of smoothing the top with my good old Stanley No. 5.


I took some measurements right out of sketchup to draw the leg curves on to MDF to make the lamination forms.

I am making two forms, so I will glue up the 8 legs in four stages. Each form is 1 1/2” thick (two layers of 3/4” MDF) to accommodate the 1”x1” legs. So I attached all four layers and cut them together on the bandsaw:

Here are the two forms, each glued and screwed to their bases. In the background are the free-moving “mates.” The maple strips will be clamped between the two halves and pressed flat against the base. The reason they are outside is that they have received two cans of spray-on shellac to keep the lamination glue from sticking to the forms.

One of the forms back inside on my bench, ready for glue up (standing on edge while the shellac dries)

Here is the maple for the legs:

Here is a shot of the set-up for ripping the strips. This is a very tedious job, because each of the eight legs needs ten 1/10” strips to end up 1” thick. So 80 four-foot long strips. Its probably time to sharpen my ripping blade, too.

I had to stop after making 20 strips, enough for my first two legs. But I won’t change the tablesaw set-up until all the strips are cut. I didn’t have time to start mixing the glue so I will probably get to that tomorrow.

Total building time so far: About 9 hours.

-- Happy woodworking!

13 comments so far

View Martin Sojka's profile

Martin Sojka

1893 posts in 4674 days

#1 posted 06-23-2009 08:45 AM

Hey Blake, this is a nice #9,000 LJ blog entry ;)
Keep building!

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 3970 days

#2 posted 06-23-2009 12:19 PM

nice job blake. im really curious to see how this one looks in the end

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4024 days

#3 posted 06-23-2009 12:51 PM

Blake, this is coming together nicely. I love the figured boards that you chose for the table and putting the “natural edge” on the top the way you did looks pretty good. I have to admit when I looked at the first set of photos I was wondering how you were going to treat the void but this works much better, in my opinion.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View EternalDesign's profile


237 posts in 4197 days

#4 posted 06-23-2009 01:17 PM

Looks good blake, thats some really nice maple!

-- Brian, Eternal Furniture & Design

View poroskywood's profile


618 posts in 3566 days

#5 posted 06-23-2009 01:54 PM

Blake, Nice job, I’m looking forward to the leg glue up and the technique of making them. The table top is awesome a super thick slab of wood will make this a rugged piece of furniture. Would you consider slightly contouring the back two corners just enough to get rid of the squareness on the back side it may help give this table more of a “jelly” feel.

-- There's many a slip betwixt a cup and a lip.--Scott

View ben's profile


158 posts in 4072 days

#6 posted 06-23-2009 02:17 PM


This is starting to look interesting. It will be exciting to see those laminations come out and joined to the top.

Also, this design reminds me a little of something my teacher at CFC did, which we called the “Nanopus” (9-legged octopus variant). Check it out here:

Keep on keepin on.


View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4301 days

#7 posted 06-23-2009 02:45 PM

Sweet! This is going to be such a great project to add to your portfolio!

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Karson's profile


35148 posts in 4602 days

#8 posted 06-23-2009 03:16 PM

Blake Some great looking wood. Anf nice work on the table.

That octopus table must have been a bear to get all the legs level.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia †

View Praki's profile


201 posts in 4198 days

#9 posted 06-23-2009 03:27 PM

Blake – those are really nice looking maple slabs. I can see a real master piece taking shape there!

I went to Global Wood Source once but it was closed that day. Are prices reasonable compared to Southern?

-- Praki, Aspiring Woodworker

View majeagle1's profile


1426 posts in 3698 days

#10 posted 06-23-2009 06:29 PM

Fantastic blog Blake and what a wonderful project. Can’t wait to see the rest of the progress as this beautiful table takes it’s final form. The wood you chose is gorgeous and I think you have now cost me money!!!
I did not know about Global Wood Source so now I have to make a trip there $$$$$$$$$$.......

-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks,,

View stefang's profile


16133 posts in 3536 days

#11 posted 06-23-2009 08:19 PM

Great design and nice wood, and it’s all coming together nicely. Thanks for letting us enjoy your fantastic project from our armchairs. Looking forward to the next progress blog. Congrats on your pro breakthrough.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View a1Jim's profile


117328 posts in 3779 days

#12 posted 06-24-2009 12:35 AM

the coolest can’t wait to see more.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3875 days

#13 posted 06-24-2009 12:50 AM

Nice job, Blake.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics