Lake Table part 2


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Sorry, part 2 of a long story, read Lake table first

View attachment 198295Got the approximate distance between them and cut out this to connect.
View attachment 198294Eventually morphed into this, which I cut out some shop made veneer glued onto walnut - wondered if I shouldn't have used all oak but it turned out well.I was able to use (and HAD to use) all these prototypes to drill holes for dowels. I made jigs with 3/8" bushings for drilling. No matter how careful I was with the drill press, checking square etc. there was a slight misalignment in the two holes. Took me a few days of trial and error until I realized I juView attachment 198296st had to use the opposite end of the jig into the leg to match. Luckily I had the first two legs I made from scrap wood to experiment on. BTW, I had clamped the legs down on a sled to flatten the convex side where they joined. Now when I dry fit them there was a lot of play. I hoped that when joined to the top it would stabilize but it might have been better structurally if I made two center pieces. By this time I had a month or two to think about the top and had decided I needed a new skill so how about a deep pour epoxy? I took some blue chalk to the area to be cut out.View attachment 198298
I hadn't decided on either a colored translucent epoxy with some fish swimming around embedded in it or more of a solid, less translucent fill. How was I going to attach the legs if I could see through? I needed the legs either attached to each other or the top. Needed another opinion so I schlepped off to Phil's (He's still our president for better or worse and will be regardless of that rigged election). After a few brews and unsuccessfully trying to figure out multiple angled apron designs, and convincing him that he wanted to help with the top, decided to go with the original plan of dowels. So made up another jig and drilled those.View attachment 198299 View attachment 198300

In order to keep everything aligned when gluing up I fabricated this board with hot melt glued down restraints.View attachment 198297Keeping the other legs in place I glued up two legs and on to the next two after they dried. Had to make sure the legs were vertical and in plane as it was still wobbly. Now it's back to the top and I had decided on two things, semi translucent epoxy and to fume the table which I will get to in the next chapter. To make it easier to work with the next step was to cut it up. Phil had offered both his sliding table saw and domino. I finally had a use for those 8' plywood cut offs from making cabinet backs so I stuck the top on them with double sided tape for a foundation to keep the top square on the table saw. Thanks again Phil as this went smoothly.
Oak not being one of my favorite woods I had experimented with different stains and dyes on some cut offs. Usually I avoid stains but when I just put some shellac on it it got that orange tone sort of like Trumps face. The other problem was that after the epoxy pour I would have to surface it again so I couldn't stain first and I was afraid of any stain on finished epoxy so fuming seemed best, and besides, another new skill!
Next I used a jig saw with the blade angled to cut out the area I had chalked, trying to follow the growth rings as best I could. After cleaning up with the angle grinder and sandpaper I dyed the cut sides to what I thought the top would end up being before I poured epoxy. Spent hours on YouTube trying to figure this out, included tips from Jeremy and others. Took some ply and covered it with Tyvex tape and caulked it on the bottom figuring the weight of the top would keep it in place. Of course when I turned it over the ply fell right off. Out of an abundance of caution, and worried about $150 (Ca-Ching!) of epoxy leaking out and sealing all those wood shavings to the floor, I re-caulked it, ran hot melt glue around it and nailed some pin brads around it. (after removing it some epoxy had leaked past the caulk but not much further). The only issue with the pour was the suggestion that you stir up the mica powder after about 16 hours to keep it from settling. I had done this after about 8 hours, went to bed and after about 14 hrs. it had set up too much to risk doing more. It looked good but could have been better. Luckily I had made up a little box to put the rest of it in for testing purposes. Sorry that I had pretty much given up on pictures at this point. Sent the middle part of the top through the drum sander to surface it, the only issue was I took enough off the bottom to expose the domino holes so a little repair job was left to do underneath after glue up. Sanded the top down to 220 and the epoxy to 600 which I felt would be enough given a topcoat. Built a tent on our covered porch, spread out 6 pie plates and poured in some Janitorial strength ammonia I got from Ace. Again the You Tube for instruction and concluded that I could live with it a day or two longer than if I ordered industrial strength. Now I skipped gloves but had on goggles and respirator and had to evacuate before the fourth pan was filled because of the fumes. By putting my face behind the tent flap I was able to finish. After a day couldn't see much difference. After two, still not much difference, the ammonia had evaporated so bought more, next day some improvement so I bought a small desk fan to circulate the fumes as the legs were sure getting much darker than the top. After 5 days and another trip for more ammonia I gave up. The legs looked really good but the top was only tan. WTF! then duh, it hit me. The top was probably red oak, even though it was originally whiter than the legs! So dye to the rescue. First I checked on the excess epoxy that the dye would come off if I got any on it. Next I tried on scrap the three brownish dyes I had on hand but the best still had too much red in it. So off to Klingspor again for some green to cut the red. Got the green but they also had mission brown which I also bought and it did the trick. After a light sanding I finished with Osmo Polyx oil which along with Rubio monocoat was highly recommended for epoxy pour tables. What a joy using this product. I thought it was a little expensive but after three coats applied with a white scotch pad I only used about 1/10 of the can. This stuff is also used for wood floors and could be used for repairs without even sanding if otherwise not needed.
So if you're still here, this is it, what the pictures don't capture is the sculpting of the end pieces. Oh yeah, when I was finishing it and admiring all those worm holes etc. I was left with this thought-

I never asked Jack if this had been in a kiln .......View attachment 198301View attachment 198302View attachment 198303
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Phil S

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Phil Soper
Staff member
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Great job, John. I am glad I could be a minor assistant


Corporate Member
John, I commented on your first installment, but to prove I also read the second I thought I would comment again. You did a great job with all your newly acquired skills, the table is beautiful! I am going to have to try a project with some sort of dyed epoxy, I really like the look.

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