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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I found a piece of driftwood on the banks of one our local rivers this fall while I was flyfishing. It was an interesting piece which had a partial stump, the roots, and some rocks were intertwined amongst the roots. So with a bit of help I loaded it into my truck and got it home. I thought that it would make and interesting coffee table if I could get a one side flat and topped it with a nice piece of beveled glass.
So after a number of months of it sitting in my shop I got the saws out. I used a lazer level and a pencil to mark the areas that I wanted to cut. A reciprocating saw took care of some of the smaller roots and then I used a chainsaw to get the bigger piece off. These were rough cuts and as long as I was within an inch of my lazer lines that was good enough. Then I built a crib for the piece and it is about 4'x3' square and 19" high. I built the crib out of some scrap constuction grade lumber and plywood, it didnt have to look pretty. Then I built a 4' long sled that I could run my router in. I made this out of baltic birch, clamped a couple of scrap pieces onto the ends to give me the gap I needed and started running the sled across the top of the driftwood to level it out. I used a 3/4" straight bit and only took 1/4" off the top at a time. After a few passes I bottomed out the router and could not go any deeper so I slid a piece of 3/4" plywood under the piece in order to raise it and continued with my light passes. After about 5 passes all the pieces which will support the glass top were level with each other. It took me about 6 hours to accomplish all this and I am very happy with the results.

I still haven't identified the species of wood this piece is and I have made a seperate thread on this so if you have any idea let me know.

The next step in this project is to sandblast the exterior of the piece with crushed walnuts to get to the good wood as the grey exterior or patina that is on it presently is of very poor quality.
 

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Looks like a great project !
Out of interest, is crushed walnut shell something you can buy commercially for for sandblasting or something you've come up with yourself ?
I ask because here in Croatia we have a lot of old oak houses that are popular for renovation and we have a lot of walnuts ! Seems to me blasting these houses with crushed walnut would be a great way to clean them up a bit.
 

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Pretty cool!

If you could send me a piece of the end grain, just a little 1" square a 1/2" thick I can identify it for you. I have to be able to see the end grain so I can look at it under magnification.
 

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Pete,
That's a wonderful project and I like your crib/sled idea. Don't be shy! please post progress pictures.
Dovetail's generous offer is interesting, too. It would be nice to be able to identify the wood.
Finally, where do you get your walnut shell medium?
 

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I'll bet you'll never be able to make another one exactly like it!! A great project and you are doing it the way that I would. Keep up the good work.

You absolutely must post a photo of the finished table for us to see. Now, I think I'm going to take a walk along the river and see what I can find.

Charley
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks

Gav and Gene, the crushed walnut shells are available commercially. I just bought a 50 lb. bag today for $30. Crushed glass was going for $10. Its a little more expensive but from my research it is used on the outsides of log cabins to clean them up so Gav I think they would work on the oak you are talking about. Bearing in mind that I have never done any sandblasting in the past another plus is that the walnut shells are not as harsh on yourself nor the environment. Since I plan on doing the sandblasting in my driveway it was a no brainer to use this as opposed to any of the other blasting materials out there.

Dovetail, thanks for your great offer, that means alot to me. I have never worked on this type of project before so its all new but it would be really nice to know what the wood is. Most of us start our projects knowing what the wood species is before we put the saw to a board but this one is a little different. Identifying the species will help me quite a bit when I get to the finishing stage. Just pm your details to me and I will get a couple of small pieces off to you right away.

I'll keep updating this thread as new significant developments arise. I am hoping to have this finished before spring but we all know how that goes.........

Cheers all.
 

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Hi Pete,

that looks super cool. I was going to something similar a couple of years ago with a nice piece of laburnum but when I got around to it the wood had gone rotten.

I never did come up with a way of getting the top satisfactorily flat and it would have always been an "it will have to do" as opposed to that's done right like you have done.

Very well thought out and done:dance3::dance3:

I am really looking forward to seeing your progress.

Cheers, Si
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Anymore progress done on this table? Id love to see the finished project!
Lots of sanding, still working on it. Its been sporadic work, I figure it will take another 30 hrs. or so of sanding to get it where I want then I will post something. Still havent quite figured out how to finish this when I get to that stage. Thanks for dropping in.
 
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