Author Topic: Bookmatched Spalted Maple Conference Table Build  (Read 2841 times)

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Offline ear3

  • Posts: 3885
Bookmatched Spalted Maple Conference Table Build
« on: April 30, 2019, 09:05 AM »
Finally getting around to these bookmatched spalted maple slabs -- purchased last March during Boards and Beams' (Fairfield, NJ)  2-for-1 slab sale -- that have been standing in the corner of my dining room for over a year.  They are being turned into a conference table for my office.

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Starting dimensions were around 28" x 100" x 1.75".  When I got them though I planned on removing the sharkfin in the lower half that you can see in the picture resulting from a massive split in the left slab (mirrored with marker on the right).  There was simply no way a table in excess of 48" all the way down was going to work for the space, and that size would have made the assembly and maneuvering very difficult in the one man shop I run.

So I worked with jig saw and tracksaw to pare down the slabs to this, with the wide part at 24" and the narrower going down to 12":

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I took off perhaps too much on the length, reducing them to around 81", but I was dealing with significant bowing along the length on both of the slabs, and additional length would have sacrificed even more thickness.  As it was I ended up having to remove almost a 1/2" from both to flatten the stock with the Woodpeckers slab mill, working off a 10' 2x6 and ply frame I built for the process:

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Final thickness came out at 1.25" -- a tad thinner than I was originally hoping for, but the loss of material is compensated for by the reduced strain on my back when moving the completed, lighter table top.
 
After jointing the glue edge on both with the TS75 + standard blade and domino-ing them with 12x140mm dominoes, I set about the task of joining them.  This was definitely a challenging glue up owing to 1) the lack of a 90 degree outside edge for over half of the seam; 2) the split at the top, where applying clamping pressure to the outer edge would likely crack the crotch; and 3) the presence of softer, spalted wood along part of the edges that risked deformation under clamping pressure.

I solved the first problem by simply jigsawing a series of pockets at regular clamping points that ran parallel to the joint:

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The slabs as purchased didn't have a full live-edge, so creating the pockets did not ruin any integrity I was trying to preserve.

I worked around the second problem by affixing scrap wood clamping blocks on the interior of the split on both sides of each slab.  I initially just used a mix of screw Clamps and 2p10 to keep the blocks in place, but after they started to fail under the clamping pressure of the Bessey parallel clamps, I said screw it and screwed them in place as well, figuring a few more holes in the slabs wouldn't stand out among all the other splits and knots I was going to have to epoxy anyway:

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This ended up working, though just barely.  There's a hairline seam visible along the last few inches of the joint -- small enough that  a normal person won't pick it up, but of course my eye still gets stuck on it every time I inspect the surface.
 
The third problem proved more vexing, and there was definitely some deformation at a couple of clamping points from the tremendous force of the I Beam clamps.

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I ended up having to jig saw some of this away after it was all said and done.

Combined slab after glue-up in preparation for an initial rough sand with the Rotex150:

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Followed by a flat sanding up to 100 grit with the RS2. 

I then took a step which I wish I could take back, which was to jig saw along the non-parallel edges to remove the clamping pockets, taking off about an inch on both sides (in addition to more substantial portions where the spalted wood had cracked).  What I should have done is simply worked from the beginning with the tools I used at the end to simulate a live edge, which was a coarse kutzall shaping disc and the makita wheel sander:

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Not a huge deal, but I lost a couple of inches in width on the final product.

Next I set about cleaning and filling with epoxy all the splits and other deformities, sanding down with the RAS after they had dried:

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Next up, the butterfly inlays.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2019, 10:44 AM by ear3 »
Kapex KS 120 w/UG Cart and Extensions • CXS Set • T18+3 w/Centrotec Installer's Set • PDC 18/4 • TS 75 • TSC 55 • HKC 55 w/250, 420 and 670 FSK rails • Carvex 420 w/Accessory Kit • Domino 500 Set • Domino 700 XL • OF 2200 w/Base Accessory Kit • OF 1400 • OF 1010 • MFK 700 EQ Set • LR 32 • MFS 400 w/2000, 1000, and 700 extensions • Rotex 90 • Rotex 150 • LS 130 • ETS-EC 150/5 • ETS-EC 150/3 • Pro 5 LTD • RTS 400 • RAS 115.04 • RS 2 • HL 850 • Vecturo OS 400 • CT 26 w/BT module • CT Sys w/Long-Life Bag • MFT/3

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Offline ear3

  • Posts: 3885
Re: Bookmatched Spalted Maple Conference Table Build
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2019, 09:42 AM »
I took advantage of having the Shaper Origin to produce curved butterfly inlays, first cutting out the templates from 1/2" ply:

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Then template routing on the router table a bunch from some Bubinga scrap I had lying around:

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After spoiling a few of my initial attempts on the corners, I realized my Whiteside flush trim bit was dull, and so switched over to a conventional straight pattern bit that was fresh:

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I brought the Shaper directly to the slab, and worked out the pockets for the inlays, leaving them proud of the surface by about 1/16:

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Cool effect when routing the mortise on the end of the crack where I had added some epoxy:

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As you can see, I got a bit overzealous on the right hand side, but I was kind of locked in and marveling at the ability of the machine to deliver such precision.  It is still pretty slow-going with the Shaper for this application, and you still have to finish by hand -- I spent an entire day cutting out the pockets and fitting each individual inlay.  But the end results speak for themselves.

I did some final epoxying on the seams of the inlays, then sanded everything down flush:

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Sanded the top surface to 400 grit (bottom only up to 150), applied a few coats of Surfix, and now have the table top ready:

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Edges came out really nice considering that almost all of them are no longer true live-edge, but instead what I produced with the shaping disc and wheel sander:

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And the high grit finish really brought out the chatoyance when under light, which formed in the middle what looks to my eye like a mesozoic fish fossil, but what to my wife, Rorshach style, suggests something more vulgar:

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The bubinga inlays really pop now:

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I'm working now on the base, which will be utilitarian black pipe.  I'm going to do a mock-up of a triangular or trapezoidal frame for the underside that will strengthen the table and form a buffer between the base and the top, but haven't made a final decision whether to use it or simply attach the black pipe directly to the underside.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2019, 10:47 AM by ear3 »
Kapex KS 120 w/UG Cart and Extensions • CXS Set • T18+3 w/Centrotec Installer's Set • PDC 18/4 • TS 75 • TSC 55 • HKC 55 w/250, 420 and 670 FSK rails • Carvex 420 w/Accessory Kit • Domino 500 Set • Domino 700 XL • OF 2200 w/Base Accessory Kit • OF 1400 • OF 1010 • MFK 700 EQ Set • LR 32 • MFS 400 w/2000, 1000, and 700 extensions • Rotex 90 • Rotex 150 • LS 130 • ETS-EC 150/5 • ETS-EC 150/3 • Pro 5 LTD • RTS 400 • RAS 115.04 • RS 2 • HL 850 • Vecturo OS 400 • CT 26 w/BT module • CT Sys w/Long-Life Bag • MFT/3

Offline egmiii

  • Posts: 148
Re: Bookmatched Spalted Maple Conference Table Build
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2019, 10:29 AM »
Very nice work. Thanks for documenting and sharing the progress of your project. Quite inspirational.

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 6517
Re: Bookmatched Spalted Maple Conference Table Build
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2019, 10:42 AM »
Nice stuff Edward!!!  [thumbs up]   [thumbs up]

I also really like the shape of the top.

I like how that wood shimmers with the addition of light. I hope there's a window available in your office. [big grin]

After the 400 grit, did you do any buffing?

Did you have to number the pockets and number the butterflies so that they didn't get mixed up or were they all interchangeable?

What I'm getting at is the butterflies were pattern made and the pockets were CNC made. I'm wondering how well those 2 manufacturing methods parroted each other?

Offline ear3

  • Posts: 3885
Re: Bookmatched Spalted Maple Conference Table Build
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2019, 10:59 AM »
Thanks @Cheese !  I didn't even think of doing any additional buffing.  The surface ended up being fine despite this, with one exception.  I changed paper halfway through, and on the corner where I started with the new disc I can still see the evidence in the form of a roughly circular pattern on one of the corners of the top that reflects the light differently.  It's only evident under raking light from a particular angle, but sounds like I could have resolved this by buffing -- will keep this in mind for next time.

Yeah, working with a template for the butterflies meant that I had to hand fit each one, though other than the corners of the mortise this mostly just involved strategically sanding the bubinga.  The Shaper allows you to over or undercut the pattern in as little as 1/1000" increments, so you can dial in an almost exact match of whatever dimensions you're working with.  Lol, yes, I had to number all the inlays to keep them straight:



Nice stuff Edward!!!  [thumbs up]   [thumbs up]

I also really like the shape of the top.

I like how that wood shimmers with the addition of light. I hope there's a window available in your office. [big grin]

After the 400 grit, did you do any buffing?

Did you have to number the pockets and number the butterflies so that they didn't get mixed up or were they all interchangeable?

What I'm getting at is the butterflies were pattern made and the pockets were CNC made. I'm wondering how well those 2 manufacturing methods parroted each other?
« Last Edit: April 30, 2019, 11:06 AM by ear3 »
Kapex KS 120 w/UG Cart and Extensions • CXS Set • T18+3 w/Centrotec Installer's Set • PDC 18/4 • TS 75 • TSC 55 • HKC 55 w/250, 420 and 670 FSK rails • Carvex 420 w/Accessory Kit • Domino 500 Set • Domino 700 XL • OF 2200 w/Base Accessory Kit • OF 1400 • OF 1010 • MFK 700 EQ Set • LR 32 • MFS 400 w/2000, 1000, and 700 extensions • Rotex 90 • Rotex 150 • LS 130 • ETS-EC 150/5 • ETS-EC 150/3 • Pro 5 LTD • RTS 400 • RAS 115.04 • RS 2 • HL 850 • Vecturo OS 400 • CT 26 w/BT module • CT Sys w/Long-Life Bag • MFT/3

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 6517
Re: Bookmatched Spalted Maple Conference Table Build
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2019, 11:40 AM »
Just curious what software you're using for the Shaper?

That thing really is pretty exciting. I've gotta get mine going.

I also really like the form of the butterflies, those long smooth curves. Interestingly enough, when I was working with this white oak slab for the kitchen counter top, I designed a butterfly exactly like yours except that the ends were also scalloped so that there were no straight lines. I eventually decided not to use it and utilize just epoxy for stabilization.

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Offline ear3

  • Posts: 3885
Re: Bookmatched Spalted Maple Conference Table Build
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2019, 12:03 PM »
Nice board.

I use Fusion 360.  It's got a lot of features more appropriate to 3D design and surface rendering, but I find the basic sketch and measuring functions to be more than enough for what I need.  Plus it now has a plug-in explicitly for Shaper Origin, which makes saving patterns in the correct file format fool-proof.  You can get a one-year trial license I believe, or maybe even a free version (which I presume would still have all the features you would need for Shaper type design): https://www.autodesk.com/campaigns/fusion-360-for-hobbyists

 
Just curious what software you're using for the Shaper?

That thing really is pretty exciting. I've gotta get mine going.

I also really like the form of the butterflies, those long smooth curves. Interestingly enough, when I was working with this white oak slab for the kitchen counter top, I designed a butterfly exactly like yours except that the ends were also scalloped so that there were no straight lines. I eventually decided not to use it and utilize just epoxy for stabilization.

(Attachment Link)
Kapex KS 120 w/UG Cart and Extensions • CXS Set • T18+3 w/Centrotec Installer's Set • PDC 18/4 • TS 75 • TSC 55 • HKC 55 w/250, 420 and 670 FSK rails • Carvex 420 w/Accessory Kit • Domino 500 Set • Domino 700 XL • OF 2200 w/Base Accessory Kit • OF 1400 • OF 1010 • MFK 700 EQ Set • LR 32 • MFS 400 w/2000, 1000, and 700 extensions • Rotex 90 • Rotex 150 • LS 130 • ETS-EC 150/5 • ETS-EC 150/3 • Pro 5 LTD • RTS 400 • RAS 115.04 • RS 2 • HL 850 • Vecturo OS 400 • CT 26 w/BT module • CT Sys w/Long-Life Bag • MFT/3

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 4254
Re: Bookmatched Spalted Maple Conference Table Build
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2019, 12:46 PM »
Spectacular!

When you can’t clamp the outside do as you did when c-clamps can reach but you can stop movement of the clamp block by putting a piece of thin neoprene between the block and the work. If that slips too use a piece of abrasive. Best is 100 grip drywall sanding screen, as long the surface is still rough, so you will be able to sand out any impressions from the screen. (Use steam first)

When you need clamping blocks farther in the interior than c-clamps can reach you can glue them on with an interface of brown craft paper. The more the better so you don’t need to use as much pressure per clamp so the chance of breaking the block loose is lessened. After the glue-up you can pop the blocks off with a sharp hammer blow then sand off the paper/glue.

Offline Dick Mahany

  • Posts: 530
Re: Bookmatched Spalted Maple Conference Table Build
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2019, 01:30 PM »
Just WOW!  Beautiful table and the chatoyance is incredible.  Thanks for doing such a great job documenting the process.  Looks like it was a fun challenge!

Offline Bert Vanderveen

  • Posts: 546
Re: Bookmatched Spalted Maple Conference Table Build
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2019, 02:41 PM »
Quote: And the high grit finish really brought out the chatoyance when under light, which formed in the middle what looks to my eye like a mesozoic fish fossil, but what to my wife, Rorshach style, suggests something more vulgar:

Hah, there is a reason why it is called crotch figure… : )

Beautiful work!
Cheers, Bert Vanderveen

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Offline ear3

  • Posts: 3885
Re: Bookmatched Spalted Maple Conference Table Build
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2019, 06:03 PM »
Oooh, that's a great clamping tip.  Thanks @Michael Kellough


Spectacular!

When you can’t clamp the outside do as you did when c-clamps can reach but you can stop movement of the clamp block by putting a piece of thin neoprene between the block and the work. If that slips too use a piece of abrasive. Best is 100 grip drywall sanding screen, as long the surface is still rough, so you will be able to sand out any impressions from the screen. (Use steam first)

When you need clamping blocks farther in the interior than c-clamps can reach you can glue them on with an interface of brown craft paper. The more the better so you don’t need to use as much pressure per clamp so the chance of breaking the block loose is lessened. After the glue-up you can pop the blocks off with a sharp hammer blow then sand off the paper/glue.
Kapex KS 120 w/UG Cart and Extensions • CXS Set • T18+3 w/Centrotec Installer's Set • PDC 18/4 • TS 75 • TSC 55 • HKC 55 w/250, 420 and 670 FSK rails • Carvex 420 w/Accessory Kit • Domino 500 Set • Domino 700 XL • OF 2200 w/Base Accessory Kit • OF 1400 • OF 1010 • MFK 700 EQ Set • LR 32 • MFS 400 w/2000, 1000, and 700 extensions • Rotex 90 • Rotex 150 • LS 130 • ETS-EC 150/5 • ETS-EC 150/3 • Pro 5 LTD • RTS 400 • RAS 115.04 • RS 2 • HL 850 • Vecturo OS 400 • CT 26 w/BT module • CT Sys w/Long-Life Bag • MFT/3

Offline ear3

  • Posts: 3885
Re: Bookmatched Spalted Maple Conference Table Build
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2019, 12:16 PM »
Table now in situ in office with pipe leg base added.  I ended up using 3/4 simply because two different local Home Depots were out of some of the needed proper fittings for anything larger, but I'm considering going back at some point and redoing it in 1 1/4.

I used 1 1/4 for the legs for the low table you see at the foot of the conference table.  My administrative assistant is celebrating her 30 year work anniversary, and by coincidence just moved into a new place, so I used the sharkfin shaped offcuts to make a coffee table for her as a gift, using roughly the same process by which I put together the big table.  These pieces were a bit more ragged, requiring substantial pours of epoxy.
Kapex KS 120 w/UG Cart and Extensions • CXS Set • T18+3 w/Centrotec Installer's Set • PDC 18/4 • TS 75 • TSC 55 • HKC 55 w/250, 420 and 670 FSK rails • Carvex 420 w/Accessory Kit • Domino 500 Set • Domino 700 XL • OF 2200 w/Base Accessory Kit • OF 1400 • OF 1010 • MFK 700 EQ Set • LR 32 • MFS 400 w/2000, 1000, and 700 extensions • Rotex 90 • Rotex 150 • LS 130 • ETS-EC 150/5 • ETS-EC 150/3 • Pro 5 LTD • RTS 400 • RAS 115.04 • RS 2 • HL 850 • Vecturo OS 400 • CT 26 w/BT module • CT Sys w/Long-Life Bag • MFT/3

Offline BarneyD

  • Posts: 86
Re: Bookmatched Spalted Maple Conference Table Build
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2019, 01:35 PM »
That is simply gorgeous, Ed. Something like that is on my bucket list. But I doubt I could do as well. Many thanks for sharing. And for the inspiration.
Barney

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 6517
Re: Bookmatched Spalted Maple Conference Table Build
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2019, 10:52 AM »
With the single pipe running down the middle, it seems everyone has enough leg room.  [smile]

Nice touch Edward with the sharkfin off cut table gift.  [not worthy] [not worthy]