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MF1000

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On my extensive travels around the UK with my job I recently hit my hands on two cookie cuts of spalted beech from a fantastic timber merchant in Weston Super Mere.

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over 800mm across and approx 80-90mm thick
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I’ve spent some time levelling one of them so far on my home built slab milling table

once milled it’s out with the Wolf belt sander and 80 grit to remove the faint lines from the tungsten carbide cutting tipped milling head on my router.

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after sanding down to 320 grit with an orbital sander and a quick wipe with white spirit to show the grain.

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the next step with be some bow ties across the large and a smaller crack.

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these will be in yellow balau which should contrast nicely with the beech.

Any advice on suitable surface finishes and or experiences with them would be appreciated
 

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How punky is it? Looks as if it might have some slightly soft patches? End grain like that can be a bit unforgiving for finishes if there are any areas that are not completely solid.

I had a couple of smaller pieces of spalted horse chestnut that I painted thinned epoxy on to soak in and stabilise. Then gave a layer of coating epoxy and polished it. Gives a reasonably glossy finish (could be mirror shiny with a finer polishing compound) and should be very hard wearing + waterproof. The soaked in epoxy should also strengthen it and make the end grain more stable and less likely to crack.
 

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How punky is it? Looks as if it might have some slightly soft patches? End grain like that can be a bit unforgiving for finishes if there are any areas that are not completely solid.

I had a couple of smaller pieces of spalted horse chestnut that I painted thinned epoxy on to soak in and stabilise. Then gave a layer of coating epoxy and polished it. Gives a reasonably glossy finish (could be mirror shiny with a finer polishing compound) and should be very hard wearing + waterproof. The soaked in epoxy should also strengthen it and make the end grain more stable and less likely to crack.
There was one small softer spot at the edge that has cleaned out very well once the bark was removed. The surface of the disc is not soft at all
 
A few hours free today has allowed me to get the cutouts for the bow ties done and the balau joints glued in etc.

here are the bowties glued in place
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The bow tie cutouts were created using my router then finishe off with a chisel ….no templates used for this 😁.

Then out with the block plane to level them, then the whole slab was re sanded with an orbital sander 80-320 grit used

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Chinese chopping boards(or cutting etc) are basically the same thing, a slice of tree.

But as we all know, these things are prone to splitting while drying, so to combat this, and to keep it together in repeated use they use a leather strap around the edge.
Apparently, you wet the leather, nail one end on, wrap very tightly, then nail the other end overlapping the first. As it dries it tightens and prevents splitting.
 
Working from home 3 days this week so whilst sun was forecast today I started my report writing at 07:30 so I could take an hr out to apply a thin epoxy resin seal coat to the top surface

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The resin will seal the end grain and fill/glue the hairline cracks too. The grain & spalted areas really pop now 😁.

Once it’s fully cured I’ll sand it back before trying the hard wax oil on it
 
Looking good. :D
I always find slices or slabs utterly fascinating, the way the tree grows, the swirls and flaws that really make it look so beautiful.
 
Started my work early this morning in the hope that we would have calm weather after the storm passed through. By lunchtime we had sun so I dragged the slab outside and set about sanding back the thin epoxy layer I’d used to seal the end grain and fill in some of the small surface cracks.

The resin is tougher than you’d expect and it took a pass with 60 grit to level out some of the bumps over the cracks. Working down through the grades I’ve taken it to 320 grit.

Th Oli Natura arrived yesterday and I kept it in the house to ensure it was in good condition etc.

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to apply it I had got a Clarke applicator …..closed cell foam pad with a nice handle

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a small pool of hard wax oil was easily spread with this and constant moving the pad over the slab gives a smooth sheen as the oil dries.

here is an overall shot of the slab with its first coat

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and some close ups

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It’s a big 👍 so far for the Oli Natura

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I’ll let it harden overnight then sand down to 1000 grit before applying a second coat.
 

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Another two coats of the hard wax oil today ……smoothed down to 2000 grit now. One more coat in the morning then I’ll leave it to fully harden until next weekend.

Here is how much it takes to coat the 36” dia slab

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Back after a week visiting factories in Ireland and started to mock up some softwood legs for the table to test out an idea etc. I also applied a 1st coat of the wax to the underside of the slab and boy did it soak in …..I’d not used the epoxy resin to seal it and it took roughly 3 x the amount used on the top surface.
 
Finished the test design/build on the legs for the smaller cookie today. A mix of 145x45 and 90x45 scrap timber I had left around (the 145 was decking timber) assembled as a central X with halving joints and outriggers slotted down on the legs of the X

tried to post up some pics …. the system isn’t cooperating at the mo
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system working now

the plan is to use some nice oak for the legs
 
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Spent yesterday evening burnishing the top surface of the cookie slab with 0000 steel wool, then applying a few coats of Black Bison wax

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next step is deciding on what timber to make the ’double X’ pedestal from ….black stained softwood maybe or go high end with some oak or other hardwood.
 
Nice day today (well dodging a few showers) to get the milling table out again a level off the second (bigger) beech slab. A couple of passes with the router fitted with the 3 cutter tipped spillboard bit …taking about 3mm per pass and I’ve now got a flat slab. Filled on with a quick run over with the belt sander at 80grit and it’s looking ok

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some nice grain etc revealed too

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they are so far beautiful, lovely spalting and figuring. thanks for pointing me in this direction.

If I just used a drill guide with depth stop how easy would it be to mortice / hollow out the bowties with just chisel work - did you scribe in the bowties after bandsawing them?

thanks
 
You could use that method to cut out the bow tie pockets. Yes scribed around each bow tie to firm the pockets. Once you have cut the bow ties you chamfer the bottom edges to help them fit into the pockets and have a mix of glue on fine dust from the bow tie wood to fill any gaps. Leave the bow ties 5mm proud ot the slab and then plane down to the surface etc.
 

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