|Project by tallpaul||posted 08-02-2011 08:05 AM||4004 views||5 times favorited||9 comments|
So, the genesis of this project: A local lumberyard was being demolished, and some fellow firefighters happened upon some big slabs of wood from a bowling alley that was torn up years before. They were free for the taking, and we envisioned building a firehouse tabletop to replace a gray, boring piece of melamine in our day room.
So, I soon found out that working with this material is a labor of love. The individual pine strips were never glued together, rather they were fastened cross grain with a whole lot of nails. Cross cutting anywhere meant cutting through them, no options. Lateral support was provided by metal angle iron screwed in from beneath. Remove that and it all flexes – a lot. The bottom surface was really irregular, and protected by a thick coating of tar, I guess to prevent rot. We used a big drum sander to flatten the bottom, and screwed 3/4” square stock into dados every 18” along the length of the piece, to stabilize the whole affair. It seems to have worked fine.
The rest was straightforward: Cherry edging mitered at the corners, and with scarf joints along the long edge, glued and screwed in place, with poplar dowels plugging the holes. I used some custom made decals for the graphics, which mirror what you might see on our engines, and added to the effect with a 1/2” pinstripe detail done with red tape from an automotive detail source. The finished top is about thirteen feet long, 46” wide, and weighs a ton. A bit more than 2” thick.
I thought about all sorts of finishes, but knowing that this table would see heavy use from lots of knuckle draggers in the firehouse, I opted for a two part epoxy bar top finish, which came out pretty nice. You see this kind of finish in restaurants and bars everywhere. We’ll see how it stands the test of time.
Personally, I’m really pleased with the contrasting colors or cherry and pine, and the high gloss finish works well.
Thanks for looking!