Plant Table -- First Woodworking Project

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Project by dustyal posted 2009 days ago 2392 views 5 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Plant Table -- First Woodworking Project
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I’ve been hesitant in posting my first woodworking project.— a small plant table that my wife wanted. I am one of those intimidated beginners that Todd Clippinger mentions in his welcome video. So, go easy on me? I’m in awe of the work I see on this site.

My wife wanted a plant table of specific size and she “expressed desire” for me to use a piece of slab wood she picked up while visiting Mystic, Connecticut. The rough and ugly slab came from the wood the craftsman shipbuilders used when building the reproduction slave ship, Amistad. I had been “storing” this piece on the firewood pile for several years. Each year I’d bring it in and declare it to be that season’s Yule log. Annually, she would declare something different and back to the wood pile it would go. After a few years of that she chose to move it to her mother’s garage—for another six years of safekeeping.

So, lesson one in woodworking— if she wants it so, make it so, and leave it at that.

The legs are cherry—the top is from the slab. I made it a three point landing so it would be less inclined to rock. The slab chunk was actually easy to work and it has a very nice cherry-mahogany like look and colorization once a few layers are peeled away. I believe it is a African mahogany used in shipbuilding as a teak substitute. I only “smoothed” the top. Note, I didn’t say I flattened it. A straight edge will show that it is high along the edges and low in dead center. I call that “design intent.” When she waters the plants, the excess will run toward the center of the table and not off the table onto her hardwood floors.

Anyway, she is satisfied as it fits into the space where she needed it. I picked up many lessons learned and some simple skills that require more practice. It was a good first project… since nothing was square, flat, or plumb—thus mistakes made are not too obvious at first glance. I wish I had the insight from the Mason-Dixon woodworkers club before I had started! That’s a great group of helpful masters.

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

24 comments so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


15670 posts in 2822 days

#1 posted 2009 days ago

Man, what are you hesitant about?!

I think this piece shows that you have a natural talent for design. And that design feature that keeps water from running off onto the floor is brilliant. :-) (And I’m not kiiding about the nice design.)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View woodworm's profile


14124 posts in 2194 days

#2 posted 2009 days ago

The shape of the top is really beautiful.
Great work Al!

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View PetVet's profile


329 posts in 2091 days

#3 posted 2009 days ago

Al, can I use your phrase “design intent”? I see a lot of potential with it in describing my woodworking efforts… :) Really nice stand!

-- Rich in Richmond -- Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

View fred4999's profile


107 posts in 2088 days

#4 posted 2009 days ago

Good job, I like the way you rounded the leg tops or made them look as if they grew from the slab.

-- Fred, Georgia

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 2402 days

#5 posted 2009 days ago

looks great to me. I like the mass and curves of it,and your joinery worked out great.

-- making sawdust....

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2654 posts in 2130 days

#6 posted 2009 days ago

Beautiful style! Great work!

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8723 posts in 2703 days

#7 posted 2009 days ago

I would be proud to post that project. You have displayed some serious design sense in your first project.

This looks great and I can’t wait to see what else you come up with.

Nice design and craftsmanship – Thanks for sharing!

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View mmh's profile


3329 posts in 2326 days

#8 posted 2009 days ago

Beautifully done! It surely does not look like a “First Project”. I’m enjoying the history of this slab and I love the shape. I’m impressed and hope to see more of your work. Keep on creating.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View SnowyRiver's profile


51451 posts in 2084 days

#9 posted 2009 days ago

Very nice job…its beautiful,

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View tinnman65's profile


1109 posts in 2018 days

#10 posted 2009 days ago

Nice work, I took me years to pull myself away from the project books I had before I would try something on my own. I was stuck in my own little comfort zone. First project and nice design way to go.

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View BarryW's profile


1015 posts in 2510 days

#11 posted 2009 days ago

Not worth hesitating for anything…thank you for posting this simple design that accomplishes so much in a stylish way.

-- /\/\/\ BarryW /\/\/\ Stay so busy you don't have time to die.

View jamieb's profile


9 posts in 2011 days

#12 posted 2009 days ago

This is your first woodworking project? Wow, wish I could have made something like that on my first attempt. Thanks for sharing.

-- Woodworker? Nah, I'm a clamp collector and expert in sawdust production.

View ferstler's profile


333 posts in 2124 days

#13 posted 2009 days ago

My first project was a small lamp stand that was relatively easy to build. You too a bigger leap, and the effort paid off. You have serious talent.

View woodsman's profile


60 posts in 2032 days

#14 posted 2009 days ago

When I see something and it makes me think of things to build as this table did, I offer that up as a big Compliment. Job well done.

View brianinpa's profile


1809 posts in 2326 days

#15 posted 2009 days ago

We are our own worst critic. That looks great and nothing to be hesitant about!

-- Brian, Lebanon PA, If you aren’t having fun doing it, find something else to do.

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