A small table with 3/4” top just doesn’t look right – the proportions are all wrong. Even big tables with 3/4” table tops don’t look right. Tables that keep a clean 90° edge on the top typically bevel the tops from underneath. That way when we you look you see a 1/2’ or 3/8” edge view. This is common on Shaker end tables but is used elsewhere if you look.
However I wanted a different look. I didn’t want an older looking profile like an ogee because to me that is more of a period piece edge treatment. I mentioned at the start of this build that this piece was partly inspired by the work of Anthony Buzak and he gives his tables tops these sweeping curves. The size and sweep of the curve is determined by many things – artistic preference, boarder diameter and overall size of the table. I don’t know how he does his curves, possibly by hand, possibly using a shaper.
Given the scale of my table I wanted the curved round over but the shape isn’t that of a normal router round over bit – instead it is a more sweeping curve. I looked around and decided to make it using just the profile part of a ‘thumbnail’ router bit.
The idea is to not raise (the bit is in a router table) the bit so high that it cuts the groove, only the curve. I did a couple of test pieces and then did the tops. Here is a picture of them complete but I’m sure future pics in this build will reveal the profile more clearly. I was quite happy with the results.
At this point I was also starting to finalize on my finishing. My biggest concern was getting a pleasing colour for the border to achieve three-way colour balance between the red tones of the pelin burl and the black of the base. I also needed to determine the best finish for the pelin burl. It was already dark and I was concerned about darkening it too much.
I took my spare veneered piece of burl, sanded it to 220 and then taped it in half and put GF High Performance on one side and Arm-R-Seal on the other. Once on the burl there was no contest, the pure water-based high performance looked aweful and the Arm-R-Seal looked great. The pelin definitely needed an oil in the finishing process to bring out the burl’s depth and figure.
I tried a variety of dyes and dye combinations on the mahogany edges including some danish oils (light walnut and medium walnut). I decided I wanted a light brown colour with a hint of red. I found that was remarkably easy to achieve by using a single application of GF light brown dye stain on the mahogany. Here is a pic of some of the samples beside the burl and on the the bases to try and get an overall impression.
With the top finished and the finishes chosen, it was time to start the finishing process.