Walnut Table...Rust-egant?? Ele-rustic??

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Project by Alex Lane posted 09-03-2008 09:08 PM 2624 views 2 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Walnut Table...Rust-egant??  Ele-rustic??
Walnut Table...Rust-egant??  Ele-rustic?? No picture No picture No picture No picture No picture
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This is a table I came up with when a buddy gave me some end-grain slabs of black walnut from a downed tree on his property. The only thing I could think to do with them was use them for table tops. This table uses the first of two pieces I received.

The belt sander didn’t work too well (even with 24 grit zirconia belts) because the wood is so HARD. I got one side mostly flat with the belt sander, but there were still some chainsaw gouges in it. So I made a frame from 2” wide strips of melamine mdf. I mounted my router to a board that would sit across the top of the frame, and I used a 1/2” straight bit to ‘surface’ the other side of the slab so that it was flattened. I was NOT going to run end grain that tough through my planer. At that time the planer still had straight knives, not the helical cutterhead.

Large Picture here
Large Picture here...sorry about the bad focus
Large Picture here

I made the legs out of some more walnut I was given by an instructor way back in my high school days. The walnut is sandwiched between some Curly Aniegre. I had no idea what to do for the legs’ shape, so I watched some episodes of The American Woodshop to see what Scott Phillips did with some of his tables. I decided to use a very modified Queen Anne style to the legs.
...Therefore the title of this project: “Rust-egant?? Ele-rustic??”
What would you call it (other than a hunk of firewood… ;-D)? I find it to be an odd yet pleasing combination.

I made a template from melamine coated hardboard, refined the design until I liked it, and cut out the legs. BIG MISTAKE TO CUT OUT THE LEGS BEFORE DECIDING ON HOW TO ATTACH THEM TO THE TABLE. I decided on sliding dovetails, which I did not photograph, because they ended up serving as function only, not form. I don’t need to tell you how dicey that was cutting sliding dovetails on the router table after the legs were already shaped!!! I do still have all my flesh and fingers… but DON’T TRY IT!

I made the column as a triangular prism, and cut it on the tablesaw with the blade set at 60 degrees (WOOHOO for left-tilt saws!!). It is made of scrap White Ash left over from cutting out the body of my bass guitar.
Oh, and the top is attached with a double-ended lag bolt. What are those things called again…?
Large Picture here
Large Picture here
Large Picture here

Here is a closer look at the Aniegre/Walnut/Aniegre laminated legs.
Large Picture here

The finish took me the longest time to complete to my satisfaction. I consulted The Wood Whisperer about how to give the bark a flat finish and the top surface a gloss finish. He suggested I mask the top, apply a flat finish to the bark first, and then put gloss on the top. The gloss polyurethane dripped down the bark quite a lot, but it cured mostly with the same flat finish of the initial coat of flat lacquer.
I am very novice when it comes to applying a good finish, especially brushing, which is what I did to this table. The top has went through about 12 coats of polyurethane, all sanded back down to bare wood to seal most of the end-grain pores (as well as to get rid of numerous mistakes…like bubbles and finishing in a dusty shop).
I finally put on two coats of Zinsser Seal Coat shellac, and a final coat of Gloss Poly (straight from a fresh can) and it turned out very well. I popped bubbles by tapping a corner of my brush GENTLY into them and holding a very small halogen desk lamp over the area to quickly cause the finish to flow level.

...Whew!! I’m glad it’s done… ;-D

-- Lane Custom Guitars and Basses

7 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4130 days

#1 posted 09-03-2008 11:08 PM

The top is stunning and those legs are ele-ganty :)
Nicely done
great blog as well

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14171 posts in 3953 days

#2 posted 09-04-2008 01:15 AM

nice work. My daughter in Atlanta has walnut table I made in a similar manner, I like your version very much.

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View RobH's profile


465 posts in 4019 days

#3 posted 09-04-2008 02:14 AM

Great work. I love the design. It gives me an idea of what to do with a round that my five year old and I sawed off of a log at a county fair earlier this summer.

Keep up the good work, and keep on showing it off.

-- -- Rob Hix, King George, VA

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 3737 days

#4 posted 09-04-2008 04:17 AM

I love how the contrasting woods match your heart and sap very well. I really like the leg shape as well. Thanks for sharing.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View snowdog's profile


1164 posts in 3952 days

#5 posted 09-04-2008 01:28 PM

It is a great look and I love the detail in the description. It all came out very well. 12 costs ? I bet that was a lot of work.

-- "so much to learn and so little time"..

View hap's profile


322 posts in 3758 days

#6 posted 09-08-2008 06:07 AM

very cool.

-- hap, gunbarrel city tx.

View learnin2do's profile


889 posts in 2821 days

#7 posted 05-23-2011 04:30 AM

-just happened across this -i like it a lot! -know what you mean about cutting the legs first -i’m not sure if i have ever planned anything ahead of time! -it probably shows

-- ~christine @ used2btrees

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