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Project by Triumph1 posted 09-08-2011 08:35 PM 2902 views 16 times favorited 27 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Every once in a while I actually design something that isn’t a box. I was asked by a good friend to make a table for his newly installed restaurant booth area in his condo. The booth design was a collaboration between him and I and the table design started out the same way. Once of his hobbies is diving so “Manta” was a perfect name for the table!

For the main table portion he wanted a fairly thick slab. I started with 2” thick, rough cut, black walnut lumber. All but the two inner most pieces were 6” or less wide so I could flatten them on the jointer. For the inner pieces I leveled the boards on a flat surface and then screwed flat runners onto the sides. I then ran them through the planer to get one side flat. After that I removed the runners and processed them normally through the planer.

I wanted to make the grain look as if it was pulling your eye into the corner of the booth so board direction went from “corner to corner”. To enhance this effect even more I put a large taper on the two inner boards. That made all the other boards look as if they were angled. That is the main reason this build was so difficult. I laid out all my boards in a drafting program before starting so that I would get the least amount of waste. In the end it was a massive glue-up of twelve boards. Once all glued up I had to flatten this beast. I purchased a Lie Nielsen No.7 jointer plane to take care of this…wow is all I can say. I watched a video (three times) to learn about proper plane setup and went to town. A lot of muscle and sweat later and this thing was dead flat. Flattening something that you’re going to cut a 4’ x 4’ table out of is no small deal. Very, very impressed with the plane.

After flattening the table I was able to cut out the shape and start on the inlays. The large inlays are quilted maple with a African Blackwood boarder. I did this by inlaying the maple into the blackwood, flattening that in a drum sander, and then using a large circle template routing the round inlay shape out. The straight line inlays are ash flanked by African Blackwood. The curvaceous circle inlays are spalted quartersawn sycamore. The sycamore had a very distinct color variation in the board so I cut out pieces so darker wood would end up by the large inlays and the lighter wood would be in the middle. Gives it more of a 3D affect. Like it going under the large inlays.

I finished everything off with a large 0.7” chamfer on the bottom edge and a 3/8” chamfer on the top edge. I put four soakings of Danish Oil on and let it dry for a month. The reason for the long dry time is that I wanted to use a wipe on Polyurethane finish. I usually don’t use Poly but this is a table and not a box.
“Manta” is 48” x 48” x 1.75”.

We designed a stainless steel base for the table. The base in the pictures has actually been swapped out already.

I put three pictures of “in process” to give you a better idea of what I wrote. One picture shows me flattening with the plane, one of the lumber rough cut in pieces and the last picture of me doing the inlays.

Well, all comments welcom. I actually finished this project up five months ago but was waiting for better pictures. The last five months has been spent making a new box named “Talon”....putting the final touches on that in the next week! keep making that sawdust!

-- Jeff , Illinois Please...can I stay in the basement a little longer, please!

27 comments so far

View lanwater's profile


3104 posts in 2019 days

#1 posted 09-08-2011 08:46 PM

Very cool design.
You did a great job on the grain flow. It does seem to flow at an angle from the 2 front corners towards the back corner.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View degoose's profile


7143 posts in 2440 days

#2 posted 09-08-2011 09:01 PM

Totally out there… I love it… unique piece..

-- Drink twice... and don't bother to cut... @ For lovers of all things timber...

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2703 posts in 2372 days

#3 posted 09-08-2011 09:08 PM

Beautiful job. I love the design as well as the awesome workmanship


-- She thought I hung the moon--now she just thinks I did it wrong

View gbear's profile


467 posts in 3185 days

#4 posted 09-08-2011 09:09 PM

Are you sure aliens didn’t have a hand in this….it looks like crop circles.
Seriously, this is very cool. Nice job on design and execution.

-- gbear, Carmichael, CA

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4586 posts in 2122 days

#5 posted 09-08-2011 09:56 PM

A ‘Ray’ of brilliance in an otherwise average day for me.

This works so well not only does my eye get drawn in so would I if I were there. It makes this booth area the place to be.

You must be very happy with it. Justifiably so.

Its made my day.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View shavins's profile


104 posts in 2244 days

#6 posted 09-08-2011 10:51 PM

Brilliant design, I cant look anywhere but into the corner the grain flow is that good!

-- shavins

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


16719 posts in 2761 days

#7 posted 09-08-2011 11:44 PM

Awesome!! I can hear the oohs and awes from here!!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View grizzman's profile


7629 posts in 2389 days

#8 posted 09-09-2011 12:03 AM

what a fantastic piece, and having to get the new plane to do it must have been rough…...when you said he was a diver, i looked at the table again and the circles looked like air bubbles going up to the surface…fantastic job here…...i agree with what martyn said…...

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Roger's profile


17850 posts in 1889 days

#9 posted 09-09-2011 12:47 AM

this is a way kool table top for a booth. very very nice. really like the inlays

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe.

View DurocShark's profile


65 posts in 1856 days

#10 posted 09-09-2011 12:50 AM

I love it!

(My pen making website is Manta Designs, so I’m particularly excited to see this!)

-- -Don

View shipwright's profile (online now)


6266 posts in 1883 days

#11 posted 09-09-2011 01:10 AM

Very nicely designed and executed Jeff.
It works on many levels and as a diver myself, I can feel the ocean in the waves and bubbles.
Is it just the table or are there mermaids drawing us all into the corner?

Great work.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees.

View Cozmo35's profile


2199 posts in 2121 days

#12 posted 09-09-2011 01:21 AM

Jeff, I would sit at this table and proudly drink a beer with you if I was a little closer. Great job!!

-- If you don't work, you don't eat!.....Garland, TX

View Bearpie's profile


2600 posts in 2103 days

#13 posted 09-09-2011 02:02 AM

Very creative and seductive table, I love it! This pattern would look good, no great on a cutting board. I may borrow this pattern one day.

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View EandS's profile


73 posts in 1548 days

#14 posted 09-09-2011 02:36 AM

Incredible top. Its whimsical and yet artistic at the same time. I love the finish as well.

-- ~ ~

View dustprocrastinator's profile


74 posts in 1771 days

#15 posted 09-09-2011 02:57 AM

Nice table

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