Modern Black Walnut Dining Room Table #3: Coming Home & Calming Down

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Blog entry by juicedM3 posted 08-20-2012 06:07 PM 1843 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Naiveté Part 3 of Modern Black Walnut Dining Room Table series no next part

Let me first start out and say thanks to all those that have commented on this blog so far. I’m writing it to get help and to also possibly provide future help to someone else. You’ve been extremely helpful.

I’ve sent out an email to Philadelphia Woodworks to see if they had a sander that is big enough for my slab or if they knew any of the local cabinet makers that may be able to help. They do have a 15” open-ended wide belt sander which doesn’t help me, but they are seeing if there’s something else in the area I might be able to use.

This past Thursday, I finally had a chance to borrow a truck and pick up the slab. Time to bring her home. Now I might have misspoke by calling the issue a tear-out (or I was told incorrectly or just ignorance). It is more mill marks then tear-out. Either way, it’s a low spot and has to go!

The MiL’s BF came over and the first thing we did was take a straight edge and shine a light behind it.

After seeing this, he suggests we just try scrapping it! There are low spots on either side of the mill marks so it doesn’t look like we’d end up creating a deep dish. We’d actually end up leveling the area.

We also tried a large planer but ended up with some tear-out. With the wave in the grain, he wasn’t getting the right ‘read’ and I wasn’t about to try. Maybe he had to go with an even shallower cut. He was able to reduce size of the mill marks and then went back to the scrapper. The results are looking good!

Still going to continue the search for a drum sander. There are small hills and valleys throughout the slab. The MiL BF is even talking about taking a piece of carbon paper and rubbing it softly so it will make all the ‘high’ spots visible and then plane or scrape them out.

We also cut it down to size and removed the bark. We used my circular saw and a saw guide. Had to eye ball it a bit since neither end or sides were square. Once we cut the one side, snapped a caulk line so that we could use it as a reference to cut the other side. I probably could have use a new blade, gone a little slower and inserted a splitter a little earlier. In the end, both sides are practically square, only off by 1/16”.

The project and research continues!

4 comments so far

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3303 days

#1 posted 08-20-2012 07:10 PM

what a beautiful slab of walnut, i cant wait to see how this all turns out, good luck in finding ways to level this and hey if it all fails, just pour some milk into the low spot, add some cereal and enjoy….lol…..

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View los's profile


49 posts in 3550 days

#2 posted 08-21-2012 01:31 AM

Hey juicedm3, call hearne hardwoods in oxford pa. They have a 67 inch wide belt sander. Pretty pricy but will get it done.

View camps764's profile


867 posts in 2360 days

#3 posted 08-21-2012 01:39 AM

Fine wood working featured an article a while back about building a router sled for just this purpose…

Basically a sled built out of ply wood, two parallel tracks. Using a straight bit, the router is run back and forth the whole length of the slab…supposed to be pretty quick and easy once you build the jig.

-- Steve

View juicedM3's profile


6 posts in 2114 days

#4 posted 08-21-2012 04:48 AM

@grizzman: If i have to rely on the low spots for my meals, I’ll go hungry! ;-)

@los: Thanks. I’ll check them out.

@camps764: Thanks for the link. In my previous post, people talked about a router sled or a more simple(?) router bridge. People have suggested using a bowl cutter router bit vs a surface planing bit to help avoid tear-outs. The option isn’t completely out of the picture yet.


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