First timer here on my first project making anything with wood. I will try to keep this short, but any comments and help is greatly appreciated!
I wanted to make a unique looking coffee table, one that looks similar to those "reclaimed wood" pieces you see. I went to a store and spoke with someone who makes custom tables for the store and he sold me what I believe he said was birch wood. He gave me a nice vertical cut of wood and what look like wedge cuts that I was going to use for legs.
Here's what I did so far:
-Sand both legs and top with 60, 80, 100, then 150 grit to get marks out and clean up a bit
-conditioned the wood then stained with a Miniwax walnut oil-stain
I could only attach one picture because the others were too big, but I put them in a gallery here:
Now here are my questions for the experts:
1. How should I attach the legs? I will not be using a table skirt/apron to make the legs sturdy, I am only looking to use the wood you see in the pictures. The man at the store said I should make 2 sink holes on each of the 2 flat sides of each leg and use 2.5" TimberLok bolts. So 4 bolts per leg. And to make the legs more sturdy, I could get some type of wooden dowel, cut a hole into the top of each leg and run the dowel into that and the other end through the table top, which I cut a hole all the way through and have the dowel flush with the table top. The table is about 1.25" thick.
Is this sage advice? I am obviously very worried about the sturdiness of the table without a skirt.
2. Finishing - the man at the store said that I don't need to finish after I use the oil stain, but I should watch that condensation could make the grain rise, and I should avoid heated items on the table. Again, is this OK? I put a good amount of work and I want to keep it nice, should I finish it? I have one can of Miniwax satin polyeurethane finish and one can of Miniwax glossy polyeurethane finish. If I finished the table, it would be one of those 2 options so I'm looking for some opinions. I am thinking
3. If I did poly finish it, should I wait until the legs are fully attached?
4. Can anyone comment on the lines that run side to side on the table top? I tried sanding out with no results. My brother is saying its the tree rings, but I think it is just how it was cut.
Again, sorry for the lengthy post, and thank you for your help.