Buckeye Burl coffee table

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Project by scruboak51 posted 171 days ago 1792 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


1048 posts in 242 days

#1 posted 171 days ago

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

-- steve, simple and effective woodworking---

View freddy1962's profile


719 posts in 180 days

#2 posted 171 days ago

Now that is WAY COOL !

-- JEFF Illinois (Banks of the Mississippi)

View maplerock's profile (online now)


417 posts in 432 days

#3 posted 171 days ago

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


529 posts in 226 days

#4 posted 171 days ago

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.

-- If trees could scream, would we still cut them down. We might, if they did it all the time for no good reason

View david38's profile


1062 posts in 975 days

#5 posted 171 days ago

beautiful piece

View Dave777's profile


226 posts in 2701 days

#6 posted 171 days ago

outstanding work on some really nice wood.

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

View aussiedave's profile


3014 posts in 456 days

#7 posted 171 days ago

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

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

View gfadvm's profile


10736 posts in 1322 days

#8 posted 171 days ago

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

13783 posts in 970 days

#9 posted 171 days ago

Awesome piece

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View Net55's profile


78 posts in 219 days

#10 posted 170 days ago

Beautiful piece.

-- Bill, SW Florida

View redryder's profile


2139 posts in 1733 days

#11 posted 170 days ago

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


14878 posts in 1820 days

#12 posted 170 days ago

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

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

View Greg's profile


281 posts in 1505 days

#13 posted 170 days ago

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?

View Benboy's profile


97 posts in 893 days

#14 posted 170 days ago

This is outstanding. Well done!

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

View helluvawreck's profile


15623 posts in 1498 days

#15 posted 170 days ago

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

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- 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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