I thought that a bunch of "I have this and this and this" would be too much like bragging but thanks to the responses I can give enough of the info you asked for. I'll update my profile in a bit.
Regarding the $37 band saw, that was my way of trying to say I have my weak spots in the ol skillset. That 1980's Sears 10 inch bandsaw isn't going to be used on "slabs" as I called it.. it's for balsa wood under an inch thick .. it was just a skills reference, to something I got frustrated with that day. I spend at least an hour at night, almost every night, in "the sawmill building" if that tells you a bit more. A slab to me is a slice of a tree. I've finessed crotched pieces up to about 29 inches wide and curved ones technically wider. One prize is a 8 inch thick 28" wide, 8.5 ft long pine picnic tabletop. It's sister is 4" thick and is my outdoor workbench on sawhorses. The facility is unheated, has one 15amp circuit in it, and various entry/mid level secondhand machines in it including the latest, a 34" capable surface sander with variable speed feed. I have a 72 inch hydraulic grapple on the loader arms of my JD 5 series that can do 4000 lb logs. I'm not sure where to stop listing the stuff.. it already feels pretentious. Anyone using a shopsmith? Years ago I started using my 1946 9" metal lathe to pump out billyclubs and bats in 1/10th the time it took my neighbor and I started doing more and more with wood.. now I have a collection of drying slabs of various types sizes and character and starting to think about the next steps. I have about 30% of the pieces I need to make an indoor workbench top. They're residual pieces but sometimes I purposely choose to sacrifice furnature grade cuts in order to make another 'oops' for the hardwood workbench.
To answer about my planned technique.. here's what I think is a start..
I have a couple of nice wide live edge candidates in black walnut that of course each have some amount of center, cathedral pattern and as your eye approaches the edges, the bands get tighter and tighter.
I first thought to simply slap on tight straight grain edge wood onto the left and right edge of the center board to add years to the slab but I think that would look too artificial even if I could line up the pattern parallel.
I'm now thinking I can combine a few tricks to get it to look less detectable
I can't use a center core to start, if I use a center board that's slightly off center (a higher slice) then the bands don't tighten up so quickly (or wider wood, less ring lines) and when I add edge, the final product will look more interesting.
Further, if I mirror two north facing halves, and/or two north high slice halves AS the center, I'll simulate an even wider center section containing less years, then I can use another north half on one side and a South half on the other... Then two South's . One of those things that any one of YOU may actually appreciate noticing in a piece. I like the idea that in 200 years someone seeing it may make a crooked smile and not even tell anyone why.
If you're still with me (my fault not yours.. ) I have another part of the plan that can give me width that I want, but not the age.. is to incorporate, on one side of the center board.. a simulated enveloped branch. A branch that grew from near the base of the tree and grew together aside the trunk and eventually was totally enveloped.
I don't want to use any epoxy but I know I will have to either leave flaws or tastefully deal with them. I want to leave the color and texture as natural as is practical for an heirloom. I've personally taken down, and cleaned up.. most of the trees I've sliced. I've bought only two ever and that felt like cheating.
To answer one of your other questions, a dining room table top is what I want to make. For me. I also want to learn and achieve. Oh and not die by a 168" blade through the gullet .
See, more info makes the post unattractive to read. I'll stop here.
Last edited by PurpleWalnut; 10-17-2019 at 10:59 PM.