|Project by doug_w||posted 12-17-2010 05:21 PM||3512 views||9 times favorited||24 comments|
This Milpa coffee table was a housewarming gift to my son and daughter in law as they move into their first home. Milpa is supposed to be a tree that grows in Mexico, probably the Yucatan Peninsula, but I was not able to verify this. The base was made from two 12/4 walnut slabs with a crotch figure arranged in a triangle with the third side open – I kept the live edges on open side where the limb came in. The table is quite large for a coffee table being 52 inches in diameter and two inches thick. The challenge was finishing the top since, not only was it all end grain, but there were thousands of cracks that are caused by the uneven drying out of a tree cross section – some as wide as 3/8 inch and many quite deep. I filled the cracks with TimberMate, an amazing wood filler from Australia, that was dyed almost black. Since I was dealing with end grain and a filler that was loaded with stain, I needed to keep the end grain from sucking up the stain and ruining the color and figure of the Milpa round. So I sealed the end grain with shellac before each crack filling session followed by sanding back down to the raw wood. It took four rounds of this process followed by some touch-up to get all the cracks filled adequately. Even then, I had to put on six coats of varnish before getting rid of the small dimples where the varnish was sucked into the grain. The resulting pattern caused by the black filled cracks contributed to the overall figure resulting in a quite stunning piece.
-- Doug, Georgia