Furniture Making

You are not logged in. [ Login ] Why log in
(NOTE: Login is not required to post)

Live edge almond slab coffee table


I'm pretty new to this, but I have a nice almond wood slab that I'm turning into a coffee table. I basically want to achieve a nice, penetrative, high gloss finish on the table (it's a live edge slab). I'll be putting hairpin legs on it and going for that modern 50s live edge slab look. I've read many, many articles on the subject and I'm quite lost - should I use a polymerized tung oil, or a polyurethane varnish? Shellac, perhaps? How fine should I sand the piece? I've done sandings at 120, 180, and 220 but I have no idea how far up I should go - I don't really want to sand out 10 different grains and run three or four coatings on each grain. I'm just looking for someone to help me set the boundaries a bit.

It's a 1700 on the janka hardness scale, in case anyone is wondering, and has beautiful gold and faint purple colors running throughout. If someone could give me some basic guidance for a high gloss finish that would really demonstrate the beauty of the grain, I'd appreciate it.

9/13/13       #3: Live edge almond slab coffee table ...

There's really no exact answer to your question. If I'm doing a high gloss finish, then it will either be a marine-type varnish or a two part linear polyurethane: two very different finishes, requiring different skills, equipment, and processes. In either case, you'll loose those purples, but time will eventually take them out anyway. The best bet would be to find a finish that you like, find out what it is, and focus your efforts. There's no best finish, but any good one requires developing a skillful way of working it in addition to aquiring knowledge about it. So, don't sweat it, you're at the learning by doing phase.

9/13/13       #4: Live edge almond slab coffee table ...

Do you have kids, or going to have them? A brother that puts his feet on furniture? Like to eat and drink by the coffee table? A young Lab dog that like to lick spilled food off the table, or chew the corners? All these will require the toughest finish you can get if you want it to look clean for a long time. If you want it to look like a piece of timber, and enjoy the look of wear and tear, then just oil and reoil every year. By the way, did you check the box about being a professional woodworker to list questions on this site? Notice the title of this section, Professional Furniture Making?

9/14/13       #5: Live edge almond slab coffee table ...
David Member

I would not use shellac as it is not moisture resistant. Polymerized Tung oil is a good choice and after about 5 coats you would have a nice glossy finish that is water resistant, durable, and easily repairable. You can also use polyurethane in whatever sheen you want and thin is down to a 50/50 mix with mineral spirits to achieve a penetrating first coat. From there you can build it with several more coats. Both finishes are wiped on with a rag. Keep in mind that a true high gloss finish needs a thick build of coats to be rubbed out at the end, so you may want to brush on the poly for that. As far as prep, sand the piece to about 180 for a penetrating finish and 220 for a topcoat finish. Lightly sand with about 320 between each coat of finish regardless of what you use. If using Tung oil you can wet sand the oil into the wood for the first few coats followed by several light coats and get a really smooth finish. Basically you are going to have to try and learn from each experience. But we have all been there. Whatever you do try each coat on the bottom first to see what results you get before to do the top.

  • Post a Response to this thread
  • notify me of responses to this topic
  • To receive email notification of additions to this forum thread,
    enter your name and email address, and then click the
    "Keep Me Posted" button below.

    Please Note: If you have posted a message or response,
    do not submit this request ... you are already signed up
    to receive notification!

    Your Name:
    E-Mail Address:
    Enter the correct numbers into the field below:

    Date of your Birth:

    Return to top of page

    Buy & Sell Exchanges | Forums | Galleries | Site Map

    FORUM GUIDELINES: Please review the guidelines below before posting at WOODWEB's Interactive Message Boards (return to top)

  • WOODWEB is a professional industrial woodworking site. Hobbyist and homeowner woodworking questions are inappropriate.
  • Messages should be kept reasonably short and on topic, relating to the focus of the forum. Responses should relate to the original question.
  • A valid email return address must be included with each message.
  • Advertising is inappropriate. The only exceptions are the Classified Ads Exchange, Machinery Exchange, Lumber Exchange, and Job Opportunities and Services Exchange. When posting listings in these areas, review the posting instructions carefully.
  • Subject lines may be edited for length and clarity.
  • "Cross posting" is not permitted. Choose the best forum for your question, and post your question at one forum only.
  • Messages requesting private responses will be removed - Forums are designed to provide information and assistance for all of our visitors. Private response requests are appropriate at WOODWEB's Exchanges and Job Opportunities and Services.
  • Messages that accuse businesses or individuals of alleged negative actions or behavior are inappropriate since WOODWEB is unable to verify or substantiate the claims.
  • Posts with the intent of soliciting answers to surveys are not appropriate. Contact WOODWEB for more information on initiating a survey.
  • Excessive forum participation by an individual upsets the balance of a healthy forum atmosphere. Individuals who excessively post responses containing marginal content will be considered repeat forum abusers.
  • Responses that initiate or support inappropriate and off-topic discussion of general politics detract from the professional woodworking focus of WOODWEB, and will be removed.
  • Participants are encouraged to use their real name when posting. Intentionally using another persons name is prohibited, and posts of this nature will be removed at WOODWEB's discretion.
  • Comments, questions, or criticisms regarding Forum policies should be directed to WOODWEB's Systems Administrator
    (return to top).

    Carefully review your message before clicking on the "Send Message" button - you will not be able to revise the message once it has been sent.

    You will be notified of responses to the message(s) you posted via email. Be sure to enter your email address correctly.

    WOODWEB's forums are a highly regarded resource for professional woodworkers. Messages and responses that are crafted in a professional and civil manner strengthen this resource. Messages that do not reflect a professional tone reduce the value of our forums.

    Messages are inappropriate when their content: is deemed libelous in nature or is based on rumor, fails to meet basic standards of decorum, contains blatant advertising or inappropriate emphasis on self promotion (return to top).

    Libel:   Posts which defame an individual or organization, or employ a tone which can be viewed as malicious in nature. Words, pictures, or cartoons which expose a person or organization to public hatred, shame, disgrace, or ridicule, or induce an ill opinion of a person or organization, are libelous.

    Improper Decorum:   Posts which are profane, inciting, disrespectful or uncivil in tone, or maliciously worded. This also includes the venting of unsubstantiated opinions. Such messages do little to illuminate a given topic, and often have the opposite effect. Constructive criticism is acceptable (return to top).

    Advertising:   The purpose of WOODWEB Forums is to provide answers, not an advertising venue. Companies participating in a Forum discussion should provide specific answers to posted questions. WOODWEB suggests that businesses include an appropriately crafted signature in order to identify their company. A well meaning post that seems to be on-topic but contains a product reference may do your business more harm than good in the Forum environment. Forum users may perceive your references to specific products as unsolicited advertising (spam) and consciously avoid your web site or services. A well-crafted signature is an appropriate way to advertise your services that will not offend potential customers. Signatures should be limited to 4-6 lines, and may contain information that identifies the type of business you're in, your URL and email address (return to top).

    Repeated Forum Abuse: Forum participants who repeatedly fail to follow WOODWEB's Forum Guidelines may encounter difficulty when attempting to post messages.

    There are often situations when the original message asks for opinions: "What is the best widget for my type of shop?". To a certain extent, the person posting the message is responsible for including specific questions within the message. An open ended question (like the one above) invites responses that may read as sales pitches. WOODWEB suggests that companies responding to such a question provide detailed and substantive replies rather than responses that read as a one-sided product promotion. It has been WOODWEB's experience that substantive responses are held in higher regard by our readers (return to top).

    The staff of WOODWEB assume no responsibility for the accuracy, content, or outcome of any posting transmitted at WOODWEB's Message Boards. Participants should undertake the use of machinery, materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB's Message Boards after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk. WOODWEB reserves the right to delete any messages it deems inappropriate. (return to top)

  • Forum Posting Help
    Your Name The name you enter in this field will be the name that appears with your post or response (return to form).
    Your Website Personal or business website links must point to the author's website. Inappropriate links will be removed without notice, and at WOODWEB's sole discretion. WOODWEB reserves the right to delete any messages with links it deems inappropriate. (return to form)
    E-Mail Address Your e-mail address will not be publicly viewable. Forum participants will be able to contact you using a contact link (included with your post) that is substituted for your actual address. You must include a valid email address in this field. (return to form)
    Subject Subject may be edited for length and clarity. Subject lines should provide an indication of the content of your post. (return to form)
    Thread Related Link and Image Guidelines Thread Related Links posted at WOODWEB's Forums and Exchanges should point to locations that provide supporting information for the topic being discussed in the current message thread. The purpose of WOODWEB Forums is to provide answers, not to serve as an advertising venue. A Thread Related Link that directs visitors to an area with inappropriate content will be removed. WOODWEB reserves the right to delete any messages with links or images it deems inappropriate. (return to form)
    Thread Related File Uploads Thread Related Files posted at WOODWEB's Forums and Exchanges should provide supporting information for the topic being discussed in the current message thread. Video Files: acceptable video formats are: .MOV .AVI .WMV .MPEG .MPG .MP4 (Image Upload Tips)   If you encounter any difficulty when uploading video files, E-mail WOODWEB for assistance. The purpose of WOODWEB Forums is to provide answers, not to serve as an advertising venue. A Thread Related File that contains inappropriate content will be removed, and uploaded files that are not directly related to the message thread will be removed. WOODWEB reserves the right to delete any messages with links, files, or images it deems inappropriate. (return to form)