I delivered my first project of 2013 the other day. A kitchen work table. Miss Keri cooks a lot, has a huge garden, they keep bees and have the best honey, grow shitake mushrooms and have enough chickens to never have to buy an egg even with selling them daily. This house is one of the coolest I’ve ever seen, trees hold up the first and second floor not mere post, the hand rails up the steps are carefully selected limbs and the spindles branches. Randy Slaysman did the access door for a brick oven in the stone chimney that reaches through the center of the house joining the kitchen.
The wood is Ash and the entire table came from the same tree (-drawers), I know because I was there when it was milled. It’s a small operation and we do the best we can. After the sawn boards and slab air dried out side for six months or so I selected the boards I wanted to use in this table and put them in the loft of a small barn last spring where they dried very nicely (without checking or twisting badly) through the summer and fall down to 12% moisture content. So it’s air dried not kiln, my preferred method.
Ash is great, I find it to dry and work predictably. It also has many uses from the log, riven stock is excellent for basket making, tool handles, steam bending, post and rung construction and pretty much any thing green oak can do.
I put a raised edge around the bottom shelf so when you set stuff down there it doesn’t get shoved off the back side when the next thing is slid on. The drawer slides are wood and the drawers are pine, they asked for them to be in response to some carrying/drawers I made for them a while back, there is enough Ash to make them if that idea changes.
The top is a beast 5′ long and 3″ thick. My circular saw wouldn’t complete the cut, had to finish it up with the hand saw and plane the saw marks out then a very light sand on the end grain. Folks see my shaving horse and say I’ve wanted to make one of those but wouldn’t use it enough to justify it, and I say if you have it you will find many uses for it, here it’s a standing bench, often its a sawing bench and when company comes its a sitting bench that holds your beverage of choice wonderfully!
The top has a couple large checks in the center, this is because the pith of the tree is partially in the slab. That also means this cut is on the ray plane, the most stable cut when milling. The wood shrinks the least and in turn moves the least along this plane. The farther away you get from the pith on a wide cut the more cupping you’ll see.
I wanted to fill this crack because the top will be used to prepare food but I didn’t want to hide it, it’s the natural goings on of the tree. West System makes a clear two part epoxy the 207. It’s twofold, it’ll keep the top from cracking more, which I don’t think it will anyway and fills the check with a clarity that makes it as though there isn’t any filler, you can still see the strands and fibers in the recess…..natural! The finish is Waterlox, great water resistance, heat and chemical resistance but it takes a long time to dry and does not build as fast as I’d like so the pores are not filled flat. That’s not a bad thing it’s a different look than some people expect these days but I feel the best product for a counter top.