Surfacing: from Slab to Table

Everybody has seen it and wanted to do it. HUGE slabs of wood being used for everything from desks to kitchen tables to chandeliers. Why does seeing things like that make you want one or to make one? Why is it so appealing?

Maybe it’s because we take something BIG and make one big project and piece. Maybe its the fact that nature can make something so beautiful without us even messing with it. Or maybe it the challenge of the project we’ve been given and that we, as human beings, just want to take on that challenge and beat it.

Whatever it is, making tables out of huge slabs of wood is appealing.

So here is a little bit on how WE do it.

First things first, if the slabs aren’t dry you need to either put it in a kiln (which we have) or wait for several months or at least a year for it to dry. Being so big, if you do anything with a slab before it’s dry, it will crack and bow and bend and end up being more work than its worth.

When we get the slabs they are almost always dry and and they are almost aways decked out with saw marks that hide the beauty of the wood and would be way too much to sand off by hand.

So we use our trusty CNC again. (If I haven't said it before, CNC stands for Computer Numeric Control. It is basically like a big robotic machine that we can program what to do. It is KEY in everything we do here at Woodland Inspirations from tables to ties to cabinets. It’s amazing.)

So we use the CNC, vacuum it down and use what's called a “Surfacing Bit” which runs back and forth along the wood and slowly shaves off several layers of the slab, cleaning off all the saw marks, bark and wood that is undesirable. We flip it over several times and keep adjusting the bit’s depth until we can see the pretty colors of the heartwood.


Then comes the sanding…. Hours upon hours of hand sanding down all the marks until the wood is completely flat and smooth to the touch. A clear lacquer seals the deal and makes the colors in the wood stand out with a shine. Using laquer will also protect the wood from any kind of damage that might be inflicted upon it by being a kitchen table or desk.

And there you be. Slab to table. Challenge Accepted. Job well done.


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