Oak Slab Coffee Table
(Click any photo for a close-up view)
This unique coffee table project originated from a very large storm-damaged tree on the client's property. The massive oak, which had provided shade for the client's house for many years, was heavily damaged during a storm and had to be removed in order to prevent possible damage to the home. In order to preserve the memory of this long-standing tree, the client asked the tree-removal company to harvest three large cross-cut slabs from the base of the tree. Measuring 4 feet by 3 feet in size and approximately 5 inches thick, each of these initial slabs weighed nearly 200 pounds each.
I transported all three slabs to my shop so that they could be carefully dried in the kiln, which is part of my Custom Sawmilling operation. Though only one coffee table was planned, all three slabs were initially processed because drying very large, irregularly-shaped cross-section cuts from a tree such as this have a high "mortality rate". And indeed, as the drying process started, one of the three slabs cracked into 4 pieces and serious stress-cracks started developing in the other two. To prevent a total loss, a relief cut was made from the edge to the center of the remaining two slabs, allowing the wood fiber to continue to shrink without destroying the slabs. As can be seen in the center photo above, the relief cut (which was only the thickness of a dime when initially made) widened in size to almost 2 inches by the time drying was complete.
After coming out of the kiln, the remaining two slabs were arduously milled flat on both sides and reduced in overall thickness to about 3" - even still, each one still weighed more than 100 pounds. The bark on the perimeter of each slab was left in place and was cleaned with a wire brush. After filling the small surface cracks in the slabs with clear epoxy, they were finished with multiple coats of durable polyurethane.
The finished table shown in the photos above is the slab delivered to the client for use in their home. It was placed on a wooden base that was covered with colorful handcut slate tiles. The stone tiles match well with the natural stone slab fireplace in the room and the extremely rustic nature of the oak slab works well with the room's rustic decor. The remaining slab harvested from this project is awaiting a home in another client's house.
46" long, 36" wide, and 17" tall.
For other rustic styled pieces, please see the Rustic furniture page. Visit the Tables & Desks page for other coffee table styles.
$780 for the oak slab table shown above (price includes costs to transport and dry oak slabs), but not including the slate tiles on the table base, which were installed by the client.
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