Heirloom live edge walnut dining table

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Project by Ropelie posted 03-10-2016 02:42 PM 2458 views 18 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This all started with my grandpa caring for little tree that sprouted in his garden, he moved it to a safe place and took care of it. My dad at the time asked him what he was doing and he replied “someone is going to build something out of this some day”.

Fast forward 50 years and he has passed. We harvested and milled the tree before the house was sold. The result was over 700 bf of veneer quality black walnut. I tried to do this wood justice, here is the first project.

I chose the design because it appears that the table top is sitting on a large tree trunk. The table is comfortable and everybody sitting at it has ample leg room 360 degrees around the table. It’s a little over 7 foot long and 43 inches wide.

Cross lap joinery which was pretty simple using flush trim bit and some guides pushed up against the supports so the joint was just the right size. Painters tape was used to snug the joint up a few thousandths, this worked great. The base was jointed using a 6” jointer but the top was too big. MDF straight edge and a flush trim bit was used that resulted in a perfect joint. During sanding I actually couldn’t tell what was grain pattern or the glue joint.

The top was sanded to 180, everything else was to 150. 3 full strength coats of Arm-R-Seal and one diluted with Naptha for the final coat. The finish turned out flawless, I am pretty happy. I hope to pass this down to my son some day, if he has a big enough house!

21 comments so far

View david38's profile


3518 posts in 2546 days

#1 posted 03-10-2016 03:11 PM

beautiful table

View ChrisK's profile


2014 posts in 3284 days

#2 posted 03-10-2016 03:18 PM

Nice work. I like the design.

-- Chris K

View BoxO's profile


33 posts in 1019 days

#3 posted 03-10-2016 04:13 PM

very nice design and look.

View JimYoung's profile


300 posts in 1789 days

#4 posted 03-10-2016 04:20 PM

Great story, and great craftsmanship.

-- -Jim, "Nothing says poor craftsmanship more than wrinkles in your duck tape"

View LoganN's profile


435 posts in 2103 days

#5 posted 03-10-2016 05:34 PM

i agree with JimYoung! gorgeous and fantastic!

Why the naptha for the final coat? I’ve never heard that

View Ropelie's profile


30 posts in 1374 days

#6 posted 03-10-2016 05:44 PM

4:1 naphtha to varnish finish. Naphtha flashes off faster than mineral spirits so it becomes tack free faster so less crap falls I to it. According to the wood whisperer.

Thanks for the Compliments!

View recycle1943's profile


2509 posts in 1825 days

#7 posted 03-10-2016 07:55 PM

awfully nice design and finish

btw – just curious, how many bdft are used in the table

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - my biggest fear is that when I die, my wife sells my toys for what I told her I paid for them

View Vincent Nocito's profile

Vincent Nocito

485 posts in 3566 days

#8 posted 03-10-2016 08:14 PM

Nicely done. That slab is a monster.

View Ropelie's profile


30 posts in 1374 days

#9 posted 03-10-2016 08:28 PM

The bottom support and top supports alone were cut from a single 26 bd ft piece. 32 bd ft in the base and about 50 for the top.

Here’s a picture of the book matched 12/4 slabs before cutting them down, it hurt a little!

View pottz's profile


3576 posts in 1187 days

#10 posted 03-10-2016 08:49 PM

grandpa would be proud that is a beautiful table and will make a nice heirloom for future generations.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View bobasaurus's profile


3544 posts in 3386 days

#11 posted 03-10-2016 11:50 PM

Could I ask how you applied the arm-r-seal? I see a foam brush in one of your pics. Any trouble with bubbles? The finish looks great, I hope to recreate it on my table.

The table looks amazing, and the base is a clever design. Must have been a bear to move to the sawmill unless you were able to mill it on site. How long did it take to dry?

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View Ropelie's profile


30 posts in 1374 days

#12 posted 03-11-2016 12:29 AM

Foam brush caused no problems and was very easy. Make sure you have a raking light handy. I would use it again for sure.

We had a guy mill and kiln dry. The tree was cut down in April last year. We brought the 8/4 home in November and the 12/4 home in January.

This thing has to weigh over 200#

View Mean_Dean's profile


6902 posts in 3350 days

#13 posted 03-11-2016 01:21 AM

Absolutely beautiful dining table! That walnut slab is just beyond beautiful.

Thanks for sharing the story of this table—something that Grand dad began that will live on through future generations!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View smitty22's profile


714 posts in 3149 days

#14 posted 03-11-2016 04:50 AM

Wow! Love stories about heritage trees, and this is one of the best..

-- Smitty

View Naftoli's profile


29 posts in 1042 days

#15 posted 03-11-2016 07:30 AM

i really like the design. it’s simple, gorgeous, and really accents the beauty of the wood as opposed to the artistry of the carpenter who made it. i have one question, from a technical point of view, does the top rock to either side, or are the supports on the bottom wide/strong enough to hold the weight of children hanging on it and what not? do you foresee any issues with that? also, i noticed that the short ends are cut to chevrons, any reason why?

really and awesome piece. i hope in the fullness of time your son buys a house that is large enough, if for no other reason, just to be able to get this table.

-- When certain, measure again, just in case!

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