I am making a new dining table and I've hit a hurdle I haven't been able to figure out yet.
The table will be made from plywood cut into strips and put on edge. So the table top will be endgrain of plywood. I think it will look good to stain the pieces different colors. Here is a pic
of half the table (to the point I have reached so far) and a small sample of what the finished surface will look like that I mocked up.
So I found 3 sheets of dumpster-diving plywood and cut them into 1.5 x 30" strips. I then drilled two holes in each strip and put a dowel through them to line them up. I have not glued anything yet. So now I need to sand the surface smooth, take it apart, stain the pieces, then glue, reassemble, and put a finish on it. But my problem is once I sand it and take it apart to stain it, when I reassemble the pieces don't line up perfectly anymore. On a table top, slight bumps from misalignment are a problem. I can't stain after assembly as the stain will bleed into neighboring pieces. I have to sand before I stain or else when I sand, the stain will come off (won't penetrate deep enough into the wood).
So I'm looking for ideas. How do i sand this table to a finish, but then take it apart and reassemble it exactly like it was before? I've been stumped for a couple weeks now. Any ideas - good, bad, ridiculous, unreasonable, and laughable - are welcome.