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Milpa Coffee Table

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Project by doug_w posted 1219 days ago 3234 views 9 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

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





24 comments so far

View isetegija's profile

isetegija

762 posts in 2016 days


#1 posted 1219 days ago

WOW!
What a gorgeous wood and fine craftsmanship, very well done.
Thanks for sharing with us and welcome to Lumberjocks community.

-- Not my woodworking http://woodworkessence.com/

View Ollie's profile

Ollie

146 posts in 1776 days


#2 posted 1219 days ago

Wow, that is amazing wood. You can see the effort you put into finishing the top verry `glassy` finish it still looks wet . I bet its very heavy.

-- Ollie, UK.

View DaddyZ's profile

DaddyZ

2332 posts in 1542 days


#3 posted 1219 days ago

Nice !!! Welcome !!!

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View Dusty56's profile

Dusty56

11605 posts in 2190 days


#4 posted 1219 days ago

She’s a real beauty !!
Thanks for the shellac tip : )

-- When you arrive at my front door, please knock softly but firmly. I like soft , firm, knockers : )

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15544 posts in 2720 days


#5 posted 1219 days ago

What a gorgeous conversation piece that will be in their new home!

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

View blockhead's profile

blockhead

1443 posts in 1810 days


#6 posted 1219 days ago

Stunning is an understatement. This is absolutely gorgeous thanks in part to your finishing techniques and fine craftsmanship. Well done!

-- Brad, Oregon- The things that come to those who wait, may be the things left by those who got there first.

View darryl's profile

darryl

1792 posts in 2828 days


#7 posted 1219 days ago

that’s amazing!

View McLeanVA's profile

McLeanVA

454 posts in 1936 days


#8 posted 1219 days ago

That is ridiculous. What an incredible piece. I couldn’t even begin to image what that took. Great work.

-- Measure, cut, curse, repeat.

View mafe's profile

mafe

9231 posts in 1591 days


#9 posted 1219 days ago

Wauuuu, thats one heck of a beautiful piece of wood!
What a table.
What a wonderful job you have done.
Best thoughts,
MaFe

-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View tinnman65's profile

tinnman65

1066 posts in 1916 days


#10 posted 1219 days ago

Great work!!! Your son and daughter in law are going to be very happy. I’m glad you posted a separate shot of the base, you cant really see how nice it looks from above.

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

View Dave's profile

Dave

10917 posts in 1342 days


#11 posted 1219 days ago

I love it. I have a chunk of ceder i have been wanting to do the same thing to..Welcome, you are going to love it hear.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are." http://chiselandforge.com

View WoodLe's profile

WoodLe

150 posts in 1298 days


#12 posted 1219 days ago

Large old growth usually has the best colors! Very Nice!

-- www.largewoodslabs.com Apple Creek, Ohio

View lightweightladylefty's profile

lightweightladylefty

2483 posts in 2214 days


#13 posted 1219 days ago

Doug,

That is one incredibly gorgeous chunk of wood! You certainly showed it off to its full potential.

What does it weigh? At least no one will be able to walk off with it easily ;-).

L/W

-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View doug_w's profile

doug_w

31 posts in 1259 days


#14 posted 1219 days ago

It probably weighs about 80lb, the base another 70. I used a router to rabbit a groove in the inside of the triangle, then I cut a piece of plywood to exactly match the inside triangle and screwed it to the milpa top. That way I can easily remove the top, but when it drops into place there it is solidly in place. I was worried that since the Milpa round is end grain that the top might crack if it had to support the base when lifted, so it is now easy to move it two pieces.

-- Doug, Georgia

View lightweightladylefty's profile

lightweightladylefty

2483 posts in 2214 days


#15 posted 1218 days ago

Thanks for the info, Doug. That’s a very clever way of “attaching” the top without it showing, and allowing it to be moved safely.

L/W

-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

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