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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy good folks.
Interested in slab tables and have a couple of questions.

1) slabs are offered at 1.75" thickness but i am interested in a thinner look of around 1.5" or 1.375" will this be fine or am i more likely to have wood cupping with a thinner slab?

2) seems many folks finish slabs with some form of epoxy... though i don't mind using epoxy, i prefer to no go that route as i'm not a big fan of a thick epoxy coating over slab... any reason why so many use epoxy?

3) i don't recall where, but i recall reading a post where someone states epoxy will basically seal the wood and help it from warping?

4) using sprayed lacquer, EM6000, approximately 3 to 4 coats, will it be good enough for use as conference table?

sorry for the noobish questions.
thanks in advance for all your help.

Al
 

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I got two end tables and a coffee table all made from live edge slabs and I only finished them with minwax tung oil finish and they look just fine to me and have held up well for the last three years or so.
 

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I don't believe you would have any more trouble with cupping with 1 3/8" than 1 3/4" however If you surface the wood be sure to take about the same amount off both sides.

You don't have to use an epoxy finish. There are a number of different finishes you could use. The main thing is you finish both sides of the top so moisture from the air doesn't make the underside swell up. Polyurethane would make a good finish. Use the oil based if the wood is medium to dark color and water based if the wood is light. An oil based poly yellows as it ages and shows up on light wood. If you prefered a oil type finish you could use tung oil. If you stop just short of having a film finish it will be very water resistant.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
thank you all for the replies...

now here's another crazy question...

once finished, and packaged in crates, shrink wrap and etc... this table is actually going to get shipped via ocean container to asia.
please don't ask why... my brother had a crazy request...

the temp in the container gets pretty high as the container will be exposed to heat... will this affect the slab?
 

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What is your MC%? If MC% is stable & the tables & legs can be packaged just like you purchase from online, with spacing & cushion etc. then I think it should be ok.

I just think as a reversed engineer, furniture from other countries ship to US from container as well, no problem. If shipping with UPS, you can request temp on their form.

So bottom line, MC% and how to package them will be your key factors.

Good Luck :yes::yes:
 

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Yes Moisture level is important, and not just surface moisture. Internal moisture.
I won't start on a piece/slab unless the external moisture is down to 6-8%, and then if I can I'll do a test cut to check internal end grain moisture. Better be below 10%.
I've done a lot of slabs and if you don't support the backside well, wood with wild grains will definitely move on you, just going from location "A" to "B", due to the differences in moisture/heat levels. Even using the rules I use above. I back wild twisted grains with 1" tube steel, lag bolted to the underside, and in a dense pattern. Wood will work...I've just gotten accustomed to the strength of steel.

I don't count on any surface sealant to stop warpage. I do seal the back side with a wb latex. A friend claims it's not necessary. I do it anyways.

On the epoxy, I've yet to see any other base coat that can offer the resolution and visibility of the grain. Lacquer does compare, but doesn't offer the durability. I've tried the oils on samples. They don't punch the grains or pop the colors out like epoxy/lacquer.

It all comes down to durability. What is the table used for? How often do you intend to re-oil? With a epoxy base, you will have to try awful hard to hurt the surface. You will also have no maintenance, cept wipe down with a wet rag. Now I use a wb poly, so mine have a slightly less tough surface....BUT if you want bar-top tough....it's epoxy.


Generally I'll put on 2 to 3 troweled on epoxy coats, wait a week, and sand it. Then I top coat it with 1 to 2 coats of waterbased poly. It doesn't look excessively thick.
 

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I think I would let the finish cure for a month before shipping. Shipping anything wood from one climate to another has the potential of causing problems. The only thing I would suggest is when you crate it line the inside of the crate with styrofoam to insulate it. It makes for good packing anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
@ Tammy,
good point on MC... it reads at around 10% @ test cut, and appx 8 to 9% ish at surface...
and as for shipping, we're sending over a bunch of stuff so it's going on a 20' container via freight forwarder, not UPS.

@ Da Aardvark
i'm not having slabs shipped to me... i'm shipping them out to the orient from USA.

@ Steve,

that is actually a good idea on styrofoam... and unfortunately, i don't have a month to let cure... i guess this is a gamble i have to take.

perhaps i should reinforce form bottom with 1/8" steel? would this help keep it in place?
the table legs are being fabricated with 1x3 steel tubes for this table.

the table is going to be used as showroom conference table in our Korea office...
 

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You can structure a good crate without using steel. I just wouldn't add any unnecessary weight to something you will be paying by the pound to ship.

With most finishes it takes a month for it to achieve it's full hardness is why I suggested a month. Also if you use a solvent coating sometimes if the finish isn't completely cured the offgasing it does will build up in a closed space like a crate and soften the finish where the packing will stick to the finish. If you are going to rush it I wouldn't put too many coats on too fast. Let each coat dry overnight and put a fan on it if you have one while its drying.
 
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