12
14
15
18
filled epoxy sections
17
the redwood slab as we found it
slab pics
bottom view of slab at different stages with (T) as purchased; (L) after sanding; (R) uncured first finish coat
slabs at different stages sized II
routing pocket and installing threaded inserts
pocket and treaded inserts
bottom complete
9 cropped sized

My wife and I were at Longleaf Lumber looking for materials for a small project, and came across several large stacks of western redwood tree slabs.  There and then, we decided we wanted to make our dining room table from one of them.  We ended up selecting a 3″ thick slab measuring 44-52″ wide and 12′ long (I estimate it weighed 300 lbs.).  Our dining room isn’t large enough to accommodate a 12′ table so we cut 2′ from each end of the slab.  These 2′ sections will eventually be converted to leaf extensions.

After many hours of sanding, we applied one coat of Vermont Naturals on the entire slab to lock in the color before filling in the character knots and voids with epoxy.  We discovered in an experiment on a scrap piece of redwood that the epoxy will leave a very different surface color than the Vermont Naturals.  I should mention that before this project, I had never worked with epoxy to fill voids in wood (hence the experiments) and had some hesitation in selecting this particular slab because I wasn’t certain of the outcome.  The result was better than I imagined.  The filled areas give the slab another dimension.  From a distance, these areas appear as scattered lakes in the wood, and up close, they are windows into the wood.  I tested several different epoxies and settled on KraftKote clear polymer resin. This low viscosity resin produces bubble free results (no degassing required) and can be sanded after 24 hrs. (though I typically waited 48 hrs.).

On the bottom side, I routered pockets to recess the table base, and installed threaded inserts (5/16″-18 internal thread).  The table base is a simple design constructed mostly from 1/4″ thick x 6″ wide steel.  I performed a quick finite element analysis, as a sanity check to make sure it would be stiff enough in all directions.  I unfortunately did not have the bandwidth to fabricate the base and instead did the next best thing by outsourcing it to Ramsay Welding.  The bases were wiped down with TSP cleaner to remove all fingerprints and then sprayed with several flat matte clear coats.

After many more coats of Vermont Naturals (~6 coats), our homemade dining room table was assembled and stands as the highlight in our dining room.