Blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon) from tree to bar counter, advice?

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Forum topic by JonoMcHugh posted 12-08-2014 03:15 AM 1853 views 0 times favorited 1 reply Add to Favorites Watch
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8 posts in 1265 days

12-08-2014 03:15 AM

Good day to all you fine people from a sunny Botswana!
This is my very first post, its good to be on such an exciting forum.

I would like some advice, help, guidance on a project I have planned.

In January I will be returning to my farm in South Africa for a month. We have some magnificent Blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon) trees on our farm. I would like to cut one down and make a bar counter top from it. I am going for something as shown in the picture.

What I would like to know from anyone is the following:

1. Have you worked with Blackwood? Any advice tips etc….
2. Once the tree has been cut does it need to dry, be treated or can I begin working with it immediately?
3. Removal of bark, is it necessary or can I somehow incorporate it? If it needs to be removed any tips on best way of doing it?
4. Does wood that is meant for internal purposes need to be insect treated before hand? Or any other applications be done to it and I don’t mean sanding and varnishing.

I have the necessary tools for the job. A suitable chainsaw for cutting the tree down. We also have wood cutting disc as an implement that fits to the back of our tractor so I can slice the tree in half and have a smooth flat surface which will be the top of the bar counter. I am not one for straight lines and actually enjoy a more rustic look so will do alot of the shaping “free style” with a chainsaw. I want the top of the counter to be flat, no one enjoys spilling a beer and the bottom to be knotted, twisted, curvy and have character.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post, any advice will be much appreciated.

Kind regards

-- If you don't will you know!

1 reply so far

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4123 days

#1 posted 01-18-2015 05:57 PM

1. I haven’t.

2. You probably want to cut it to close to its final size, and then seal the ends with wax, and let it sit. I think the ballpark for drying wood is about 1 year per inch, your final bar top is going to be about 2 inches thick. You can speed this up with kiln drying, and some lumber may not need as much drying time. In the U.S., the US Departmet of Agriculture has some fantastic publications on drying wood and lumber management, you might see if there are similar resources if you’ve got a forestry or agriculture agency in your government.

3. Incorporate it. It’ll just look cooler. I’m not quite sure how to seal it best, but I’ve seen a bunch of live edge slabs, so it’s probably just about soaking it with the same resin you’re going to use to seal the top.

4. Probably not, if the trees are healthy. This is one of the advantages of kiln drying, though, that in the process of drying the wood you heat it up enough to kill anything in it. Depending on local climate, a kiln may just be a space with some glass that you can let the sun heat up to about 70°C for a while.

For smoothing the top, the common way to do this without a big planer or sander is a router sled. If you search for “router sled flattening planks” that’ll definitely give you info.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

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