After the table has been roughed into the finished size and shape, the arduous task of sanding continues. Part of the beauty of a natural slab table is the obvious visual freedom of the wood itself; the growth pattern of the grain and the outer shape of the trunk. But sight is not the only sense that matters. It's equally important to tap into the sense of feel. There is nothing quite like the look of a beautiful piece of work, followed with the fingertip touch of a silky smooth surface. And the only way to achieve that, is with a lot of sanding. And this methodical progression through the grits must continue even into the actual top-coat finishing stage.
The table in our slide show is spalted western maple. Western maple is softer than it's much harder eastern cousin. The spalting is caused from a fungus that makes its way into the wood. It's a prized specie because of the sporadic nature of color and grain pattern. However, the fungus can also destroy the cell structure of the wood, creating even softer pockets than the surrounding wood in its natural, healthy state. As a result, we had to cut out more wood than I originally envisioned and had to do a lot of repairs just to make it smooth and sound. However, that coupled with a durable oil/varnish finish will protect the surface and make this an heirloom table for generations to come.
Next...Assembling the table on the pedestal