Walnut Slab Nakashima Inspired Hall Table

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Project by cellar_dweller posted 02-22-2010 03:18 AM 4935 views 8 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I purchased this walnut slab somewhat unintentionally. Two years ago, my wife wanted a coffee table and was trying to talk me into convincing my parents to give up a carrara marble table top. My parents have it seated on two wicker forms and use it as a coffee table in their living room. In advance of our ploy to confiscate the table top from my parents, we took a trip to Hearne’s Hardwoods to buy some wood to make a base. While looking around the wood racks at Hearne’s, we noticed a walnut slab sitting by itself. We asked if it was for sale and as you can tell, it was, which saved me from the “carrara caper” at my parents house. That was over two years ago.

I struggled to come up with a design for the base that I liked and so the slab sat in my shop for several months (over 12 to be exact). I attempted one design but quickly abandoned it because I wasnt happy with how it was progressing. It had too much of an arts and crafts style to it which didn’t fit quite right with a natural slab top.

In the meantime I have done other small turning projects, pens and bowls, etc until about 4 months ago when I got the urge to finally complete the table. My wife suggested looking at Nakashima designs for inspiration as she was very anxious to have the table I promised her. Her suggestion was just what I needed to get me motivated.

I began working to flatten the top and working out the design for the legs. As you can see, it is not a coffee table, but more of what I envision as a hall table. As it turns out, we had half of our basement finished into additional living space. At the bottom of the steps, a nook was formed due to the shape of our foundation walls and the division between the living space and my shop/storage space. As luck would have it, the nook is the perfect size for this table and is where you see it in the photos.

A few particulars about the construction and materials. The top is a walnut slab and the legs are maple. The slab leg is maple with some walnut laminations in the center of the leg. The maple legs are tapered from top bottom and canted forward. They are offset from each other. This was an element in the Nakashima table I used for inspiration.

My wife is now very pleased to have her table and is deciding what to put on it. She has hinted that she wants me to make a freeform lamp so that it coincides with natural aspects of table top.

The finish began with sanding to 220 grit. First coat of finish is General Finishes Seal a Cell. I then wiped on six coats using General Finishes Arm R Seal (satin sheen). This was a method used Marc Spagnuolo used on one of his projects. I am pleased with the finish as it gives a close to the wood, natural look while still allowing the crotch grain pattern in the center of the table to show the chatoyance I was hoping to see emerge.

-- Guy -- Swedesboro, NJ

5 comments so far

View Karson's profile


35125 posts in 4428 days

#1 posted 02-22-2010 03:56 AM

Beautiful Table . Great design on the legs.

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

View woodworm's profile


14468 posts in 3618 days

#2 posted 02-22-2010 01:46 PM

Beautiful wood, beautiful table.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View gagewestern's profile


308 posts in 3377 days

#3 posted 02-22-2010 05:12 PM

legs for tables of that type are hard to come up with nice job

-- gagewestern

View carter choate's profile

carter choate

19 posts in 3081 days

#4 posted 02-25-2010 02:52 PM

lovely wood , beautiful woodwork. I heart that table a lot

-- poor folks have poor ways-m. choate

View BradHess's profile


63 posts in 3039 days

#5 posted 02-28-2010 06:42 AM

Very cool table similar to something I want to build

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