Some wood projects of mine.

copyright: none claimed, this is copyleft, you are free to do with it whatever be your will
author:  Ralph Klimek 2007
artisan: Ralph Klimek

The coffee table
abstract: heirloom coffee table made from a tree trunk section, home made with simple electric power tools

This was inspired by a table I saw in a museum cut from a section of tree trunk. It had been used at the Diet of Worms or some such occasion, I was only four years old but was inspired by the inherent beauty of polished wood. This table is a tree trunk section of radiata pine. It came from a local garden supply shop , intended to be used as cheap stepping stones, rough sawn with a chainsaw and the wood was very green. First it had to be dried, slowly to prevent it cracking to pieces. Tree trunk sections must form radial cracks when it is drying, thats the LAW! I guided the one crack ( by hand saw) as it formed toward the centre so that there would be only one crack. The drying was done under a garden deck so it was still partially exposed to the weather. Drying took 6 months until I was satisfied that no further dimentional changes would occur. The section had been cut with chain saw and was very irregular.  This is where the modern miracle of the  power planner made this project possible. It would have been inconcievable to do this with a hand plane, allthough that ancient table I once saw all those years ago was planned by hand. A power plane worked all day, produced a mountain of swarf and resulted in one perfectly planned surface which would become the top and are somewhat irregular surface which would be underneath. Now how to hide the crack ? Why out it the open off course, make a feature of it! The crack was fined up with a fine saw and file. The under side had a large flat milled into it with the Triton driving a router to which the table leg would be attached. Some bark and protruding branch stubs were retained as a feature. The end grain was treated with end grain filler and polished as above. The table legs were made from second hand oregon beams recovered from a demolished building at work. The wood carving was done by me to proove a point to myself.  Sadly most of the bark fell off when drying, I would have liked to have retained more of it. What fell off could not be saved as when dry it was too distorted to  glue back.

The polyurethane varnish has weathered 13 years of heavy use. Visible ,the crown of the radiata pine

The Crack-o-Doom. After some five years the crack has propagated right to the centre.

remnant bark and small branchmetal plate foot to table-top attachment secret long bolt holding foot to leg

The leg is attached to the table through an intermediate heavy gauge aluminium plate, the central leg is attached with a secret nut and long bolt through the cross floor legs. The rough outer edge of the table slab was fined up and polished with a flap disk which is ideal for fining up irregular shapes.

The cross piece is bonded to the vertical support by a secret bolt. I drilled and tapped a one round iron bar which was inserted into the vertical. The bolt you can see here is threaded to it. This has proven to be very durable and has survived 3 children who thought my table was a place to jump from from.

Some things could have been done better, yet more was done right than wrong and people keep wanting to buy it from me. If you are a furniture professional why not build this design ? I can guarantee it would be popular with the more discerning buyer.

The carving design was first drawn on paper, photocopied and glued to the wood. A router with a fine knife then carved out the rough pattern which was finished and fined up with wood carving tools. Wish I could carve more elaborate designs in wood but I am no artist and the lord of time is not my friend.

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last mod date Mon Apr 14 18:48:28 EST 2008