Live Edge Dining Table

Summary

The purpose of this dining table is to provide just that... a dining table. After a massively disappointing refurbish of an oak veneered dining table, this project came to light and took approximately one year to complete(really closer to 1.4 years, but I round down). I started this project without a single tool, woodshop, or idea of how I was going to accomplish what I needed to. I sought out best practices, books, and mentorship and started noticing a pattern of contradictory recommendations. There was no clear path foward and I spent a great deal of time deliberating on the design, continously doubting every step moving foward. It wasn't until talking to Kelly Britz that I was exposed to the popularized bowtie technique by George Nakashima to prevent crack propogation in wood. The bowtie technique solved two of the large design issues: 1) Japanese red cedar wood moves unpredictably and quickly from humidity changes and 2) the slabs came with a slight warp and were to thin to plane the warp out, making jointed edges impossible. Being able to bridge two slabs of Japanense red cedar Sugi with bowties with a quarter-inch gap down the center allowed for the slabs to dance as needed from changes in the environment and didn't require a perfectly jointed edge to bring the two pieces together. I designed the dimensions of the bowtie to follow the golden ratio and the angle at which they meet the center is an eight degree departure from the vertical. The legs are the design of Jasmine Chan and very tightly follow the curvature of a mesquite tree base.


Design Beginnings

Slab Table Flat

Here I was evaluating the gap size between the slabs I wanted and the amount of displacement that was going to be required to flatten the cupped section of the slabs.

Bow Tie Initial Layout

The bowties shown here are the standard template bowties I found online. I cut out a few in different sizes and began to lay them out to feel out the overall size they needed to be. The dimensions of these bowties made me cringe and so I set out on an effort to come up with my own.

Bow Tie Looks-Like Layout

The bowties were cut from walnut veneer to simulate the final aeesthetic. In this photo there are eigth bowties laid out. This looked very crowded but I had to work in the number eight somehow, and so I set the angle on the bowties to be eight degrees instead.

Bow Tie Alt Looks-Like Layout

I enjoyed this layout.. for a second. Then I felt too crowded.

Bow Tie Final Layout

The final count was five bowties placed all with an equal pitch.

Work

Router Template work for Bowties

I used a router template for the bowties that a friend helped make with his wooden CNC router. Then I went through with a sharp chisel to clean out the rounded corners (yes, learn to differentiate between sharp and not-sharp, it will change your life).