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Buckeye Burl coffee table

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Project by scruboak51 posted 03-09-2014 10:23 PM 2181 views 2 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I just about wrapped up my coffee table build today, a few minor adjustments are left but it’s in the house, so I’ll count that as finished.

This started as a thrift store score of a ~3’ by 5’ by 2.5” (.91m x 1.5m x 6.35cm) thick slab of buckeye burl for $250. The thrift store does storage locker buy-outs and get all sorts of crazy stuff in inventory. While not the bonanza that the church run thrift shops can be, he’s got a pretty high quality stock of inventory for usually pretty good prices.

At the time I was not familiar with buckeye, but I had been wanting to try my hand at a slab table top for a while and after being scared off by southern California lumber store prices I decided to jump at this opportunity.

I ran the slab under my jig using a my newish porter cable router ($100 purchase at the same shop) and made pretty quick work of leveling the slab out. After a few hours of sanding to get things smooth I started the finish process. Really not much of a process, just shellac; the coloring of the raw wood is pretty phenomenal; kindof like one of those hippy trees went out on a bad acid trip.

Once the slab was finished I picked up a second piece of driftwood and turned that into a base. I was pretty happy with the results.

Then I made this base out of another piece of thrift store redwood

The grain figure and character was just too much for me to part with. So I put the first base up for sale on craigslist. After a few weeks of marginal interest, I sealed a deal for $170. Only made $40 on the deal, but every little bit helps.

Attaching the slab to the base was a bit tricky as the slab is very large (with very soft wood) and the base is very small at the top. I purchased some 5/8th (1.6cm) bar stock and built a simple metal frame. After making all of the cuts and getting the metal prepped, I ran it up the street to a local welder who was able to tack it together.

In the process I may have also landed myself a part time gig. The welder was looking for help and I guess was impressed enough with my marginal fabrication ability to ask if I was interest in helping out. I’ve been wanting to learn the trade for a while now, so this may work out well.

I’ve got the metal frame bolted to the base and the slab on just resting on the frame. Still a bit of work left to best position the slab and make sure everything is nice level before permanently attaching the slab, but for now this is stable enough for use.

Thanks for looking





23 comments so far

View steve_in_ohio's profile

steve_in_ohio

1167 posts in 358 days


#1 posted 03-09-2014 10:25 PM

WOW, that is amazing, it is so beautiful, great work

-- steve, simple and effective woodworking---

View freddy1962's profile

freddy1962

909 posts in 297 days


#2 posted 03-09-2014 10:37 PM

Now that is WAY COOL !

-- JEFF Illinois (Banks of the Mississippi)

View maplerock's profile

maplerock

432 posts in 548 days


#3 posted 03-09-2014 10:48 PM

I like the way to used your head from start to finish on this. The buy… constructing a jig, buying the router and using it to “plane” this ginormous piece. Really cool and very industrious! Well done!

-- Jerry... making sawdust in the Knobs of Southern Indiana

View OldWrangler's profile

OldWrangler

719 posts in 342 days


#4 posted 03-09-2014 11:10 PM

That is well past woodworking. This is art. I’ve seen pieces like this selling for over $2,000 and they weren’t as nice. The wood is spectacular but you have exceeded what Mother Nature could do. Thanks for sharing.

-- I am going to go stand outside so if anyone asks about me, tell them I'M OUTSTANDING!

View david38's profile

david38

1171 posts in 1091 days


#5 posted 03-10-2014 12:03 AM

beautiful piece

View Dave777's profile

Dave777

264 posts in 2817 days


#6 posted 03-10-2014 12:12 AM

outstanding work on some really nice wood.
Dave

-- the stone rejected by the builders will become the capstone

View aussiedave's profile

aussiedave

3014 posts in 572 days


#7 posted 03-10-2014 12:45 AM

Very nice burl coffee table, it looks great…well done

-- Dave.......Keep calm and make more sawdust....

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

11507 posts in 1438 days


#8 posted 03-10-2014 12:55 AM

You did an outstanding job bringing out the beauty of this spectacular wood! Like the way you mounted the top to the base. Should be much more stable than mounting it to the narrower base.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

15452 posts in 1086 days


#9 posted 03-10-2014 12:56 AM

Awesome piece

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Net55's profile

Net55

78 posts in 335 days


#10 posted 03-10-2014 03:05 AM

Beautiful piece.

-- Bill, SW Florida

View redryder's profile

redryder

2232 posts in 1849 days


#11 posted 03-10-2014 06:01 AM

I gotta feeling this table may be better looking than your photos indicate. I’ve done a few of these tables and the melding of the top and the base has always been less than I liked. I do like your go at it…................

-- mike...............

View Ken90712's profile

Ken90712

15304 posts in 1936 days


#12 posted 03-10-2014 07:57 AM

Great slab…. I would love to find a slab like this…...

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Greg's profile

Greg

284 posts in 1621 days


#13 posted 03-10-2014 08:30 AM

Love it! That buckeye is something to behold! The only thing I am worried about is that shellac can take water stains (White rings). I suggest topping with something a bit harder (since Buckeye is so porous) and a bit m ore protective like poly. Congrats on the welding gig. I love welding too. it blends well with WW.

-- You don't have a custom made heirloom fly fishing Net? http://www.Sierra-Nets.com

View Benboy's profile

Benboy

101 posts in 1009 days


#14 posted 03-10-2014 01:35 PM

This is outstanding. Well done!

-- If I can't make it, I probably don't need it.

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

16033 posts in 1614 days


#15 posted 03-10-2014 01:44 PM

This piece is quite striking. The wood is beautiful and it’s nicely done.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

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