Live edge ash table - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 07-19-2017, 12:45 AM Thread Starter
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Live edge ash table

I am soliciting advice about how to turn this ash cutting into coffee table. This cutting came from a large tree in my neighbors yard. It has been standing dead for a year until yesterday. I can only assume they didn't have a large enough chain saw for a clean cut, so this is what I have. I thought maybe start working it flat with a power hand planer, I don't know anyone with a large enough band saw to cut it flat. Maybe I find someone with big chain saw. Any how, can I start working this right away, or do I need to let it air die for a time? I know it will take time to work it down either way, but I don't want want to crack right in half and fall apart. When and if I get it smooth and sanded, it will only get an oil of some kind for a finish. My wife doesn't like the polyurethane finishes.

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post #2 of 19 Old 07-19-2017, 02:38 AM
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Quote:
Any how, can I start working this right away, or do I need to let it air die for a time?
Yes...

Quote:
I know it will take time to work it down either way, but I don't want want to crack right in half and fall apart.
Depends on the interstitial stress in the wood...and/or keeping it from "drying out" too fast...Oil it now and keep oiling/waxing it while you work the piece down to where you like the size, finish and shape.

It could still crack or split, but these can be dealt with in both structural and aesthetically pleasing ways...

Quote:
When and if I get it smooth and sanded, it will only get an oil of some kind for a finish. My wife doesn't like the polyurethane finishes.
Good...Oils and beeswax is much better anyway...plastic (aka polys) suck in the long run anyway and are not really great finishes in the big picture consideration...We aren't going to see century old heirloom work last with "poly finishes" on them for the most part. Not to mention that oil/wax finishes are generally stupid easy to do, maintain and redo if needed...unlike plastic finishes...

Check out Heritage Finishes. I have used them for decades to good effect...

Good luck...
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post #3 of 19 Old 07-20-2017, 12:18 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you Jay C, I'll post as I progress.

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post #4 of 19 Old 08-14-2017, 12:09 AM Thread Starter
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I've been chewing on how to approach this thing for awhile now. flatning the top is not going to be a problem, but I was wanting to dish the underside out to reduce weight, and keep the edges tall, thick or how ever to say it. Anyone ever use one of these things, or is that a bad idea? It's a 4 inch cutting wheel with chainsaw teeth that is used with a hand grinder. I don't want to accidentally dis-embowel myself.

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post #5 of 19 Old 08-14-2017, 12:22 AM
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Looking good !!!

I've been known to do some risky things BUT I've ALWAYS said those were asking for SUPER TROUBLE!!!! I've never used one AND the drags may set high enough to control the grab BUT it makes me shutter just to think about the human body damage it could cause.....NOT for ME!!!!
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post #6 of 19 Old 08-14-2017, 08:34 AM
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You might have better luck getting the surface flat using a router sled. It may make some unsightly marks in the surface but at least you will know there is no peaks and valleys in it.
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post #7 of 19 Old 08-14-2017, 06:32 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for advice and ideas guys. I hesitate about that chainsaw grinding wheel. The router sled is a good idea. I don't have one, so good time to research about it. This power planer is getting a work out. Thanks again and I'll post if, not going to say when, I make progress.

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post #8 of 19 Old 08-17-2017, 01:33 AM
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Thanks for advice and ideas guys. I hesitate about that chainsaw grinding wheel. The router sled is a good idea. I don't have one, so good time to research about it. This power planer is getting a work out. Thanks again and I'll post if, not going to say when, I make progress.

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I would stay away from the chainsaw grinder wheel. I had an accident with on July 2nd and had to have reconstructive surgery on my left hand from it. It jump and almost took my left ring finger off. I'll never have 100% use of that finger now. Doc says 75% if I am lucky. Those bits remove a ton of wood in a hurry and jump around a lot. Just my .02 cents.
Mike

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post #9 of 19 Old 08-17-2017, 06:20 AM Thread Starter
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Ooh I hate to hear that. I was wondering if they would jump like a mule. That really sucks about your hand. That's one of my biggest fears with wood working because you are in such close proximity of the cutting tools. I'm going to do what Steve Neul suggested, and make a router sled to flatten it. Then if I want to leave it tall on the sides, I can router the inside out.

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post #10 of 19 Old 08-26-2017, 08:37 PM Thread Starter
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I did like Mikemc90 suggested, and avoided the chain saw tooth flesh ripper. I made a simple, but effective router sled out of some scrap stuff I had. everything was smoothing along, taking my time and enjoying the ease of a power tool doing the work,,,,, and it DIED. My router never made a rattle, chunk, hiccup or any thing. It just died. Should I chuck it or is it an internal fuse wire or switch? I would love a nice new one, but they don't give them away.

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post #11 of 19 Old 08-27-2017, 11:36 AM
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I did like Mikemc90 suggested, and avoided the chain saw tooth flesh ripper. I made a simple, but effective router sled out of some scrap stuff I had. everything was smoothing along, taking my time and enjoying the ease of a power tool doing the work,,,,, and it DIED. My router never made a rattle, chunk, hiccup or any thing. It just died. Should I chuck it or is it an internal fuse wire or switch? I would love a nice new one, but they don't give them away.

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You might want to check your brushes, some have a stop on them so you don't ruin the armature when they get worn, and when it hits the stops the motor won't run. Or possibly a bad switch, my first router that I bought when I was about 10-11 wouldn't start one day, so I shot a little penetrating oil in it(the switch), let it dry and it has been working fine since then

It is an old Black&Decker, solid aluminum router, 50+ years old, still going strong, and still running with out the ground prong, the old farm house I was brought up in only had two prong plugs, somedayI am going to fix that LOL
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post #12 of 19 Old 08-27-2017, 05:36 PM Thread Starter
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OK simple fix. The switch that is activated when motor is locked for tool changing wasn't making. Sure I would love to have a plunge router, or one that may be more capable, but I don't want to squeeze that money out yet. Sometimes new ain't no improvement.
Thanks for switch idea @Catpower.

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post #13 of 19 Old 08-27-2017, 11:07 PM
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A power grinder with a 80 grit Resin Fiber sanding disc, will make short work of the bulk of the wood you need removed. Then you can use a straight edge over the top to identify the peaks and valleys. At that point, you can spot grind it until it's close. Then break out the planer.
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post #14 of 19 Old 08-27-2017, 11:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Jay C. White Cloud View Post
Yes...



Depends on the interstitial stress in the wood...and/or keeping it from "drying out" too fast...Oil it now and keep oiling/waxing it while you work the piece down to where you like the size, finish and shape.

It could still crack or split, but these can be dealt with in both structural and aesthetically pleasing ways...



Good...Oils and beeswax is much better anyway...plastic (aka polys) suck in the long run anyway and are not really great finishes in the big picture consideration...We aren't going to see century old heirloom work last with "poly finishes" on them for the most part. Not to mention that oil/wax finishes are generally stupid easy to do, maintain and redo if needed...unlike plastic finishes...

Check out Heritage Finishes. I have used them for decades to good effect...

Good luck...

You ever try using those methods on live edge Mesquite wood? You can achieve a reasonable "Rustic Look" kind of finish with Tung oil, or beeswax. But you will never get it to penetrate the worm holes and crevices. It will due fine for covered porch furniture. But you'll never get that fine furniture look that pays the bills. Poly sucks, but I have had to make it my friend. And have learned to work with it effectively.
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post #15 of 19 Old 08-28-2017, 12:27 AM Thread Starter
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A power grinder with a 80 grit Resin Fiber sanding disc, will make short work of the bulk of the wood you need removed. Then you can use a straight edge over the top to identify the peaks and valleys. At that point, you can spot grind it until it's close. Then break out the planer.
Got one of those. It does very well, but the router I think is quicker. Glad I got it back to running. Got to paint the shed this week so ya know how it goes..... I used an exterior spar urathane on my canoe decks I made. Everything has its uses.

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post #16 of 19 Old 08-28-2017, 12:35 AM Thread Starter
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You ever try using those methods on live edge Mesquite wood? You can achieve a reasonable "Rustic Look" kind of finish with Tung oil, or beeswax. But you will never get it to penetrate the worm holes and crevices. It will due fine for covered porch furniture. But you'll never get that fine furniture look that pays the bills. Poly sucks, but I have had to make it my friend. And have learned to work with it effectively.
Yeh you had the mesquite slab, that is a great looking wood. Does that grow around in the US? Like east tn?

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post #17 of 19 Old 08-28-2017, 12:44 AM
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Yeh you had the mesquite slab, that is a great looking wood. Does that grow around in the US? Like east tn?

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No Sir, I don't recon it does, it will be found in TX, NM, AZ and Mexico.


But....


I Log it.
I Mill it.
I Build it.
And I sell it!
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post #18 of 19 Old 08-28-2017, 01:51 AM Thread Starter
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Interesting. I'll keep that in mind.

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post #19 of 19 Old 09-12-2017, 04:01 AM Thread Starter
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Finished painting the shed and had a little time today to work on the ash cookie table the router sled did a good job. I hogged the meat off the top of it, and now it's flat on top. Going to roll it over and work on bottom side. Once I get the bottom flat and how I want it, I ain't figured that out yet either, then I'll get a new router bit and smooth over the top surface for a clean finish cut you can see where the cutter ripped pieces of softer wood out.

Questions, @Jay C. White Cloud what kind of oil should I use? I poured some danish oil on it, and it soaked it up like a sponge. I would have to buy the stuff by the gallons.

If I want to fill the large cracks in the center, what should I use for that?

Wife is wanting to use 4, little bit crooked, tree limbs for legs. These came from same tree. How do I attach these underneath the top? I don't want to bore a hole plumb through it.

Sorry, lots of questions. I don't want to screw this up, like I usually do. Any advice is greatly welcome.

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