Coffee Table – Made from Trees

I follow Jesh’s All Seasons blogfest, but I’ve never participated. Her topic this week – Made from Trees – is close to my heart, so I thought I’d cheat and enter the post I wrote about my current coffee table. Well, it seems I didn’t really write one. Oh, I wrote several posts where I talked about the table and I had several where I shared photos. So, regular readers may want to skip this, but I thought it would be good to share. If you want the longer version of the history, you can visit the bar when I explained this.

The WoodCraft store in West Springfield usually has a nice selection of rough-cut slabs. It’s where I found the worm-eaten hunk of wood I made my first coffee table out of. The shorter slabs are ideal for small tables, or, if you have the ability to cut them, they could make nice live-edge bookshelves. As I pointed out in that earlier post, I had made a coffee table for my office, several years ago. I liked it, but a friend of mine liked it more. When he retired, I gave it to him. I thought I could live without a coffee table in my office, especially since I would be retiring in about a year and a half. I was wrong.

I started looking for a new slab. I found one at WoodCraft and I began planning my new table. As Jesh points out in her welcome post for this week’s blogfest, fallen trees begin to decay. The process often yields some remarkable features in the wood, but the endgame of the microorganisms doing the work is to digest the tree. Unfortunately, they had eaten more of the slab than I first thought. So, my second coffee table ended up being a little shorter than I had planned.

The bark edge, often referred to as a “live-edge” which makes little sense, since it’s quite dead, had to be stabilized. It was separating from the slab in several places. I mixed woodworking glue and sawdust from sanding the slab into a thick sticky paste. I coated both sides of the openings with wood glue, forced the paste into the gap and said a few quick prayers. So far, it’s holding very well.

As with the original table, I wanted a metal base for this coffee table, in order to call attention to the slab. I had some very heavy rectangular steel tubing, but I didn’t have enough for four legs. I didn’t even have enough for three legs and a trestle-bar. I did have enough for two legs, each with two feet, if I cut things at an angle. That was fun. I like cutting, welding and grinding metal. I’m not that good of a welder, so I have to grind a lot.

I played around with several ideas for the trestle-bar, none of which seemed to really impress The Editor, or myself, for that matter. I remembered that I had kept a branch from a wild cherry tree we cut down, so I decided to use that. A few holes in the steel, a few bits of PVC pipe, some rare earth magnets and some careful assembly, and we have the illusion that the trestle-bar goes through the steel.

Note: the first two pictures in the gallery are the first coffee table I made (also from trees)

You can add a Gallery in a Classic block via the Add Media option (the icon that looks like a camera with musical notes attached).

The Editor also contributed the idea for the feet. I was going to simply let the steel legs rest on the floor. She thought wooden feet would look better. I have to give her credit, I think they do.

71 thoughts on “Coffee Table – Made from Trees

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  1. Kudos to the Editor….the wood feet are the perfect finishing touch. That’s one handsome coffee table Dan.

    If you really can’t keep the table for yourself or Faith, maybe you could sell raffle tickets at work and donate the proceeds to a cause near and dear to you. Or your church may eagerly raffle it off at a fundraiser. Just thinking out loud here.

    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ginger. I have thought of a raffle. If I brought it home, MiMi would tear it apart. Same for Faith’s cats. I brought the first one inside (the picture with MiMi) just to see if the height was good before finishing the leg-set. MiMi jumped right up and started picking at the holes.

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  2. You are an exceptionally talented man, Dan. I remember the post about this table and was in awe then. I am in awe all over again. FYI … I really LOVE the simplicity of your living room. It has such a comfy feel to it. Neat, clean, and simple. My hat is off to the editor for how this room is kept and her idea for the wooden feet on the table. LOVED your gallery! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well done, Dan. Great table. The wooden feet were an excellent addition. If you are itchin’ for a big slab and are ever driving along the eastern shore of Virginia, I can tell you the place.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Uh oh – I might have to make a road trip ;-)

      It’s good that these guys buy and sell these slabs. Otherwise, they would end up as firewood, as there’s very little “useful” wood in these pieces.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. WoodCraft has surprisingly good prices on these. The larger ones, ones that could make a dinning room table or conference room table can get pricey, but still only in the $300-500 range. The slabs I made these table from were both well under $100.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Finally am getting to comment on what you made. Love the grain in your first table and am glad you took time to save and include the bark! The metal legs of the first ones are quite artsy! Can tell with the second table that you had “practice!” A fine coffee table. Am glad you got inspired by All Seasons, and posted about your experience making these (making a table is still quite a bit of work!!) Many thanks from All Seasons and hope to see you there again soon with a post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. With the first table, I was trying to make the legs look like branches. Also, because the slab was curved, I had to work with that. The second table was more “let’s find a way to make legs with this hunk of steel” because it’s all I had, and I wanted to use it. I like the first table better. I think it was more of a natural fit, The new one works, but it’s not as interesting.

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  5. Absolutely extraordinary, Dan. An artist lives down the road from us, and his focus is natural wood objects. I have a few of his items, but I’d sure like more. You are definitely an artist; your coffee tables are stunning. Thank you for sharing. :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Gwen. Working with natural wood is not easy. I’t s hard to recover from mistakes. I wouldn’t want a steady stream of these projects, but I enjoy them once in a while.

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    1. Oh my, those logs and their work is gorgeous. Thanks for that link, Judy.

      The feet really did make a nice difference. It also gave me the idea for the underside cap on the upright portion of each leg.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Your coffee table is beautiful. I like the Editor’s addition to the project. I believe that you’re going to do great in retirement. I see you crafting many more tables… and bookcases… and stools… whatevers.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love this natural look and the flow of the tables. There are still a lot of rotting trees around our area from Florence. I hope when my husband retires, he will make some tables like this, along with his bee hives, chairs, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Dan – it’s great you enjoy the woodworking and welding elements so you can make things. This looks good and sets itself off for you … and using ‘old’ wood is so much more interesting and artistic … congratulations – cheers HIlary

    Liked by 1 person

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