All A Bunch Of Rot


Some time ago, a friend of mine, who has his own saw mill, gave me some Coigue ( a Chilean hardwood) boards that had dried in a field in open air. Since, I almost never can say no to free wood, especially hardwood, I took it home where it just sat there waiting. While the wood sat, it stared at me every time I came out the door. Only problem being that the boards are only 1″ thick and since they dried in the field in open air/sun, they are all cupped and twisted. So, what to do with these boards was the question.


A bit of time went by and I kept thinking. Finally, I decided to do a special project with these unique boards. I decided to build an anniversary gift for my wife. She’s been asking for me to make a dining table for a while now, and since some of my other “have to get done” projects are over, I decided to build the table.


Then I realized that boards had another problem. Once I took all the old fiber fuzz from the rough cutting of the mill off, I found that the boards all have a bit of rot in them. Not so much to make the boards weak, but enough that I couldn’t take it out and still have a usable board. So, what to do?


After considering the options for a while, I decided to sand the boards well and look at the general visual effect the table would have. Honestly, I was very impressed. I found that the rot gave the table a unique and beautiful tone. So, off I went at once. As the boards came to me with a live edge, I had to square them up for the center board to meet the edge boards for joining. Now, I don’t have a table saw, so I have to use a circular saw and a straight edge guide with a steady hand. Once I had them trimmed, I set dowels and glued them up.

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After the glue set up well, I then formed (sculpted) trusses for the bottom of the table so that the boards laid a little more flat. Since each board was cupped, the over all effect was even more exaggerated once they were all glued together. Even though the trusses helped flatten the table top out, there were still some very noticeable unlevel areas in the table top. To fix these differences, I had to use an angle grinder with a sanding pad and circular disk to cut the high spots out. This is not an easy task. After 8 hours of sanding I finally had the table top flat enough to work for our modern/rustic/live edge table.


Then it was time to start on the legs. These where a bit easier. So I thought… After a few hours of work, the legs where done. So, I test fitted the legs to find that I had sculpted them too then to make the table stable. It wobbled a lot. So, back to the drawing board. I also had noticed that the table rocked. One leg was hanging off the table not touch the floor. I re-checked my measurements and realized, that while I had flattened the top of the table top, the bottom still cupped a bit on one side making it unlevel. I figured I could fix it by making new legs.

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After making the new legs, I realized that the natural edge was misaligning  my leg placement.That in turn was really kicking out one leg at a much sharper angle than I had realized and even though I lengthened the leg, the effect was hideous.


In the end, at the moment, I have redesigned the leg mounting position and system. On Friday I hope to have the time to build the new system and have it mounted. For the time being though, here are some photos of the table with the first set of legs mounted and with my new sculpture (Bird) from my last post sitting on it.



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