Cherry Slab Coffee Table

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Forum topic by RussellAP posted 07-26-2013 03:25 PM 3236 views 1 time favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2287 days

07-26-2013 03:25 PM

I’m making a small coffee table for my father in law from a 40 year old cross cut cherry slab that he took off his fathers property. He’s kept the slab in good shape, but it inevitably cracked in several places.

I doweled the cracks from the bottom and have been working on the inlays for weeks. Large inlays are not good for copper powder filler, you have to prefill it with something else and then hope you can get the copper to hold on through the finishing process.

My tools for this are two DeWalt sanders, one a 5” ROS and the other a sanding drill capable of taking off large amounts of wood quickly. If you keep it moving, it keeps a level surface. This drill sander was necessary as the cherry is extremely hard and the CA glue had to be removed to a minor depth. Any dips, although minor, have been feathered out.

I was going to use a pour on poly, but the more I think about it, Arm R Seal satin poly is better.

My question is, can I add a hardener to the poly to give the surface even more hardness and if so, which one.

Here are some pics of the slab. The legs are in glue up and I plan to turn them out from 12/4 cherry, or 5×5 more or less.

This is after planing and sanding to see what I had to work with.

This is the bottom where the cracks were stabilized with 3/8 maple dowels.

Cleaning up the cracks for filler and inlay.

First inlay on, but it didn’t look very nice afterward. Later I re-inlayed.

This is what it looked like after the first attempt at the inlay.

This is after the second inlay attempt, sanded to 400g and buffed only, no finish.

Can’t wait to see this finished.

This is after the inlays were touched up. I think it will stay this way now.

The middle void.

This inlay was the problem child. I made the mistake of filling it with sawdust which I thought would harden with some CA glue, but it was very slow to harden. I think it’s stable now, but time will tell. If it hasn’t moved by the time I’m finished with it, it should be okay.

I flipped it over and finished a small part of the underside with Arm R Seal poly satin just to see what it will look like.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

8 replies so far

View fredj's profile


186 posts in 1818 days

#1 posted 07-26-2013 03:40 PM

I don’t know about the hardener, but I like what you have done thus far.

-- Fredj

View mahdee's profile


3883 posts in 1768 days

#2 posted 07-26-2013 03:47 PM

Polyurethane is pretty hard stuff but not as hard as the pour on rosin. Rosin will create a thick coat and can handle a lot of wear and tear.


View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2287 days

#3 posted 07-26-2013 04:03 PM

mrjinx007, I guess the poly will have to do, I don’t want this to look like one of those cheap Ponderosa tables.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View JollyGreen67's profile


1669 posts in 2763 days

#4 posted 07-26-2013 04:09 PM


-- When I was a kid I wanted to be older . . . . . this CRAP is not what I expected !

View DeputyDawg's profile


196 posts in 3966 days

#5 posted 07-26-2013 05:21 PM

What a creative idea and a Beautiful Job. I know he will cherish it.

-- DeputyDawg

View coachmancuso's profile


259 posts in 1932 days

#6 posted 07-26-2013 05:31 PM

What did you fill the voids with sawdust Glue mixture

-- Coach Mancuso

View pintodeluxe's profile


5664 posts in 2814 days

#7 posted 07-26-2013 05:33 PM

Way to let the natural beauty of the wood shine through!
I like this project, looking good.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3689 days

#8 posted 07-26-2013 05:41 PM

The top looks great . Waiting to see those legs : )

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

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