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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

It has been a while, but I do have a project to show off. This one is a Camphor Laurel coffee table. It is roughly 400 x 500 (16" x 18") and 400 (16") high. I say roughly because the slab is an irregular shape. I had the idea for a sail boat inlay in the back of my mind for quite some time, and when I found this slab at a wood show I knew exactly what to do with it. the Camphor Laurel comes from Northern Rivers, NSW. The inlay is Queen Ebony from The Solomon Islands. It was an interesting mix as the Camphor Laurel is fairly soft, and the Queen Ebony quite hard. I basically worked each timber separately and only brought them together for trial fitting etc.

The first image is of the original slab, and the second shows some tie down wire going straight through the cracks in the slab from one side to the other. There were a few like this, but the finished product will show that they actually add to the scene. I stabilised these cracks with epoxy, and then left the slab for a while.

Image 3 shows the components of the boat cut out from the Queen Ebony, and the 4th is where I have marked up the slab for routing to hold the inlay. The whole routing exercise was a lot more interesting than it should have been, and ended up with a burnt out router being thrown in the bin. If you know where to look, you can see the issues, but you probably won't see them in the photos.

The Queen Ebony is a dark brown, rather than black like traditional ebony, and has a distinct grain to it. It's too hard for hand sanding, particularly in the initial stages, however I found that 0000 steel wool brought up a really nice smooth finish to it. This caused problems in the final sanding, as the Camphor Laurel responded best to 240 grit sandpaper, which scratched the Queen Ebony. Likewise, the steel wool scratched the Camphor Laurel. There was some very careful sanding going on there at the end.

I chose to use floating legs attached to cross braces that slotted tongue and groove style into the table top. Images 5, 6, and 7 show the process of setting this up and then gluing it all into place. All the joints are either tongue and groove, or mortise and tenon.

The last three images are of the finished product from various positions. In them you can also see a bracing plate glued over the top of the bottom pair of braces.

It is finished first with a single coat of Carnauba wax, mainly to bring out the golden grain in the Camphor Laurel. Then over the top of that is 2-3 coats of clear flooring polyurethane (CFP). Why CFP? Partly because I already had some, but mainly to give some hardness to the Camphor Laurel.

Well that's the job finished. I am not far off finishing a King size bed for our daughter. I am at the staining and varnishing stage, so hopefully pictures will be up soon.

Enjoy,
Darryl
 

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Very nice Daryl as for cracks n blemishes and such, well they just add character and as you say help to make the scene congratulations and well done
 

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Very nice, Darryl. It looks well thought out.
 

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Great job, Darryl.

PS; love your clamps. Did not realize I had 4 in the boot.......VBG.
 

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PS; love your clamps. Did not realize I had 4 in the boot.......VBG.
They are good for that sort of job, however you need to make sure that the straps slide smoothly around your job or they end up twisting/rotating the timber.
 

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Darryl,

Good job. My technique for leveling different woods laminated together is to use a sharp scraper. Of course they have to be within certain tolerances, e.g. no more than 2 mil above or below.

My question is how you got the inlay into the base so accurately?

Best regards Jeff (Brisbane)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
My question is how you got the inlay into the base so accurately?
Best regards Jeff (Brisbane)
Jeff,

It's not as accurate as it may look. You might remember in my notes that the router ended up in the bin. Part of the issue was it wouldn't stay locked down, and when it moved there were "bumps" in the cutting line that shouldn't be there. Also, the depth stop didn't stay locked in, and that took chunks out that should not have. Last, but not least, the template moved in one section and the whole line is out by 1mm. I'm really annoyed at that one because I checked it before I started cutting...

My usual technique is to cut the inlay and then draw around the inlay in pencil. I do all the pieces like that first so that I can check positioning. When happy with that, I get the knife out and trace around the piece again cutting into the main piece. I make sure the knife cut is deep enough to be seen clearly. I then get the router out and cut to wthin 2-3mm of the cut line, and the interior of the cut. Then I come back to the edge and with successive light passes move to the cut line. When you creep up on the cut line like that, you know you have reached it when the timber feathets up. When I see the feathering I know I have reached the line, and having the cut there gives you a sharp, clean edge. A lot of time it is still tight even then, so I get a small chisel out and use it as a vertical scraper.

I'm not sure who have me those tips, but I am thankful for them, particularly to look for the feathering. I am curious to know what others do.
Darryl
 

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The inlay is amazingly done! The structure looks good and the design is unique! I like the workmanship you put into it. It obviously exhibits how skillful you are. Good job.
 
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