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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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:

http://imgur.com/a/xnMP8#0



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 satin.

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.
 

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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

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.

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 satin.

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.

1. It's going to be tough attaching those legs without a skirt. Think about cutting a V in your top for each leg, with the triangle pointed to the edge. You will have to hand fit/scrape/rasp/sand each cutout to get a snug fit. Or turn one flat side of the leg parallel to the table edge, about an inch in from the edge. In either case, when you get a tight fit, glue (like Titebond II) in place. If you choose to make one side of the leg parallel to the edge, you can then put a dowel in each leg from the side. Either assemble the legs flush with the top, or let them stick up a 1/4" or so and bevel the edges.

2. I would go with the polyurethane, your choice on gloss or semi. I usually sand to at least 220 grit.

3.Yes.

4) Those lines look to be saw marks, perhaps from a bandsaw. If you can feel them with a finger, you will have to sand them out, probably with a belt sander. If you can't feel them then I have no idea what they are.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you

Thank you for your reply!

It seems I have more work ahead than I thought. Would going with a skirt make it much easier? The reason I didn't want to go with it is because I thought it would take away from the look of the table. What's the rule of thumb for skirt length for them to be effective? I want the table to be 17.5" high, so 1.5" thick top and 16" legs.

Also, i don't know if you can tell be the pictures, but do you think it is birch wood like I was told?
 

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To make a table without a skirt you would almost have to have steel legs welded to large enough mounting plate it could handle the leverage. The legs would otherwise wobble. Were the skirt comes in is holding the legs firm. Then for mounting the top you could run a rabbet on the back side of the skirt and use some table top fasterners like this. http://www.rockler.com/table-top-fasteners

The wood does like birch but it's hard to say rough sawn.
 

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Old post, but here goes... I made a spalted maple free form coffee table years a go. Mortise them in if you can, on the inside out of view you can create a wood cross structure that till connect legs diagonally, this will help with the kick factor. Ideally, I'd consider a base shelf! Could the side to side lines be ripple or curl in he grain?
 
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