"Water on Wood"

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Project by Tennessee posted 09-13-2012 01:25 PM 3045 views 6 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My wife and I visited an artist’s fair at our local museum a few months back, and we viewed one vendor with a raw edge plank table similar in size to this one. He had this convoluted system of small pieces of wood all glued together for the leg system, and my wife said, “What a shame, the top is nice.” Then we looked at his price tag of $1295, and I knew I could do better.

This is a plank of walnut taken from the middle of a log my wife and I found on the side of the road. After chain-sawing it out, I planed it still wet until I reached this thickness. Then it sat on my table saw bench for about two-three months while I watched it slightly warp, cup, (not split), and I monitored the moisture content until my meter started giving me readings in the 8-9% range. The bark and even the moss was purposely left on. I then lightly sanded the top, and simply poured on a thick glaze coat with the board slightly slanted, allowing the glaze to “flow”, (a fair amount ran off), causing a thicker section in the cupped center, some little places around the edges where the glaze is so thin little bits of wood stick up like rocks, and I purposely left even the still green moss on the bark edge, which stayed under the glaze. It was allowed to dry for three days, then the edges were sanded sharp so I could mount legs.

Then I took some local cedar I had taken down five years ago and had planked, and looking back through my woodworking mags, found a type of leg I wanted, save the legs in the magazine were four pieces. These legs are one single piece cut from a single plank, slightly thinner than 3/4” Very delicate, and one leg did explode during the mortise operation, causing me to build another leg. They are rounded over on all edges. I needed a brace in the middle to mortise in, and I remembered a branch in the corner of my shop from the cedar tree takedown that I was keeping for something, this was it. I resawed the center of the branch out and formed the tenon joints, allowing for the natural bend in the cedar branch. That is why the mortise and tenon joints are not centered on the X of each leg.
The overall look is one of water flowing down this walnut plank, with rocks, moss, and other little bits of debris that would be in a stream, although to touch it, mostly it is mirror smooth.
The remaining legs and brace are 6 coats of gloss lacquer, buffed and waxed to make sure they are not as glossy as the top.
Thanks for looking!

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

19 comments so far

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2368 days

#1 posted 09-13-2012 01:28 PM

Nailed it! Really nice job


View TrBlu's profile


386 posts in 2746 days

#2 posted 09-13-2012 01:59 PM

Very nice. I really like the leg design. I may have to borrow that for a project I have to work on.

-- The more I work with wood the more I recognize only God can make something as beautiful as a tree. I hope my humble attempts at this craft do justice by His masterpiece. -- Tim

View Tennessee's profile


2880 posts in 2634 days

#3 posted 09-13-2012 02:07 PM

Be my guest! I borrowed it from someone in a magazine that was 8 years old.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View JarodMorris's profile


167 posts in 2495 days

#4 posted 09-13-2012 02:13 PM

That is awesome. I love the live edge of the top. Very, very cool. My wife and I also love to visit the arts festivals and such and see the woodworking projects. I respect those guys and more power to them if they can get nearly $1,300 for a table, but I too can’t help but think I can do the same thing or at least close to it. If I spend $1,300 on a table it had better have a cast iron top, 12” blade, and a great rip fence.

-- Dad: Someone was supposed to pick up his toys! Son: My name isn't "Someone".

View a1Jim's profile


117203 posts in 3697 days

#5 posted 09-13-2012 02:17 PM

This is a real unique piece a cross between rustic and sophisticated designs. Good Job.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Tennessee's profile


2880 posts in 2634 days

#6 posted 09-13-2012 04:44 PM

Thanks, Jim and Jarod. I appreciate that!

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View greg48's profile


608 posts in 2877 days

#7 posted 09-13-2012 05:12 PM

Nice job, though I would like to see some closer pics of the joinery. My suggestion is that you rent a booth space at the next show and put a $1,500 tag on it (you can always negotiate down or start a bidding war). Noticed from pics #1 &#4 that you have some fungus bodies on the trunk of the tree in the background, you might wish to “plank” that one also.

-- Greg, No. Cal. - "Gaudete in Domino Semper"

View Tennessee's profile


2880 posts in 2634 days

#8 posted 09-13-2012 05:20 PM

Just two square mortise joints put in with a HF mortiser I’ve owned for over ten years. The top is connected to the leg system with screws countersunk and maple plugs put in for a little color change. Nothing exotic at all. It seemed like every time I touched those legs, I thought one would break until I got it together!
As far as the tree behind it, we already trimmed that thing a lot. It’s just huge, and I can’t afford to take it down right now!

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29797 posts in 2458 days

#9 posted 09-13-2012 05:49 PM

Very nicely done. I feel that some “artists” feel the need to charge a lot. Quite frequently they take their products home or have a single or minor sale. I don’t really want to undercharge for products, but I don’t want to haul them home either

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Dusty56's profile


11822 posts in 3808 days

#10 posted 09-13-2012 05:50 PM

Looks great !
What finish did you use on the underside of the top to stabilize the piece ?
(keep it from cupping)

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Earlextech's profile


1162 posts in 2810 days

#11 posted 09-13-2012 05:53 PM

I love it!

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

View Tennessee's profile


2880 posts in 2634 days

#12 posted 09-13-2012 10:00 PM

The bottom has two coats of brush-on-lacquer on it, followed by a thick coat of carnuba wax, buffed. Both the top and the center brace have the same treatment. Also, my burn-in-logo is on the bottom, (Handcrafted by Tsunami Guitars).

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3606 days

#13 posted 09-13-2012 10:49 PM


I don’t normally go for the rustic, live edge, furniture made from limbs type woodworking. Not that is doesn’t take skill, sometimes more is required. Just for reference, I’m not a fan of Italian cusine, either, so go figure.

But your bench really caught my eye. The unique graceful leg design and the curved cedar stretcher, the play of color, maybe the finish, maybe all the above, I don’t know, it appeals to me. Ditto Lumberjoe, a compilation that really came together. Nailed it. Along the line of JarodMorris, it had better come with 2hp minimum, for that kind of chedder, but I could see it sold for a few hundred, which is a few hundred more than most I’ve seen, no disrespect, probably worth a lot more, hope you know what I mean. I’ll shut up now…

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View Dusty56's profile


11822 posts in 3808 days

#14 posted 09-14-2012 05:23 AM

Thanks , Tennesee : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 2296 days

#15 posted 09-14-2012 02:35 PM

This shows how artistically genius you are.

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