Last year I went to a yard sale where a woodworker was retiring to move up north. He was selling off quite a bit of equipment along with a lot of odds and ends wood he had collected along the way. I did buy a band saw and a belt sander that day, but I also bought 2 table sized slabs as well – for the (very fair) price of $20 each. Each have been sitting in my garage since, until I find the right project for them.

I have been looking at all the different ways that furniture can have metal legs. So much so that I created a Pinterest board just for metal table legs.

When I started the project, this is what the cherry slab looked like:

cherry slab table

I knew that sanding alone would not get this slab flat (as I needed).  So, it was time to get out the hand plane and enjoy some manual labor.

hand planing a cherry slab

I ended up planing both sides quite a bit.  You can tell when this piece originally dried, even though it was very thick (3-4″), there was some cupping on the edges.  It took a lot of work to get it reasonably flat.

4_planing_cherry_slab

Once I flipped the slab over, it was apparent that this would be the best side to make the top for two reasons.  One is the beauty of the defects.  While many pieces of furniture require wood that is nearly defect free, (I find) many times the defects end up being the most beautiful part of the piece.  You just have to know how to handle them, and make the defect stand out.  This piece also has a lot of checking throughout, which presented another opportunity to try my hand at epoxy inlay in wood.  The second reason is, the defect itself at bottom right is about 1/8″ lower in the wood than the rest of this side.  Meaning, it would take a summer of Sunday planing to make this side completely flat.  Best thing to do is make the other side flat (for the legs), and make this side as reasonably flat as possible.  Plus, as previously mentioned – the defect will become the centerpiece of this side.

hand planing cherry slab table top

It’s also about this time that the hairpin legs arrived from Amazon for the project.  These came from Harry’s Hairpin Legs.  These are 28″ 3 rod 1/2″ thick heavy duty legs (set of 4), capable of holding hundreds of pounds.

Harry's hairpin legs

So, we’ve skipped a couple of steps here.  At this point we have finishing up planing the wood slab.  In addition, I have sanded it with 80, 120, 240, and 320 grits on the handheld belt and orbital sanders.  So at this point I have mixed some epoxy, and mixed in some .  I anticipated it running on the sides, so I taped them up with duct tape in advance.  If you want to learn how to mix epoxy, and what products I use – check out my post for the Glow in the Dark Xbox Table with epoxy inlay.

wood epoxy inlay technique

The first day I added epoxy to the most severely checked areas, in addition to the main defect.  After allowing to dry 24 hours, I went back the second day and added more to the sides and other areas I noticed could use some Pearlescent pigment from Amazon.  I let the epoxy dry another 24 hours before proceeding.

8_epoxy_inlay_cherry_slab

I also slathered some on at the end grain where there was severe checking.

9_epoxy_inlay_cherry_slab

Here’s a video that shows what the epoxy looks like when you initially start sanding it:

Here’s a video of the epoxy wood inlay after the sanding was all done:

Image of the sanded top with the epoxy inlay.

10_epoxy_inlay_cherry_slab_table

Here’s an image of the cherry slab stained red mahogany:

cherry slab with epoxy inlay stained

Here’s an image of the finished slab with a fresh coat of polyurethane:

12_epoxy_inlay_cherry_slab_table

Here’s a picture of the hairpin legs we’ll be using to create the table:

hairpin legs

Another image of the hairpin legs:

hairpin legs

Lining up the hairpin legs to be screwed in.

lining up the hairpin legs

Aligning the legs on the other side to be screwed in:

17_hairpin_leg_table

Image of the finished table complete and installed in the home.

cherry slab table with hairpin legs finished

Here’s a short video of the cherry slab table with hairpin legs as well:

 

 

 

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