Wedding Table Build with Pictures

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SkinnyB

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Location
West Sussex
I tasked myself to build a 'top table' for my wedding. On telling my now wife this I was met with: 'Your just doing this to get out of other jobs..' Which was true. ;)

I built some cake stands a few years back and wanted to base the table on this design. I wanted to make it from solid oak as I had surplus, this did cause an issue later on which you can see.
I used a combination of ebonised oak all finished with Osmo oil. The centre 'halo' acts as a lazy Susan which has a large bearing underneath. The base is a hexagonal cone on which sits a shaped profile with a stainless collar which then transitions to the bottom of the table. The fins on the underside provide support for the 1.7m diameter table top. My wife came up with the term 'spider' for these fins which will become more noticeable in the build pictures. The top bolts to the base using a series of threaded rod so can easily be dismantled.

This is the table at the venue:

Collage_Fotor 47.jpg


Based on these cake stand design:

Collage_Fotor 48.jpg


Onto the build:

Jigs and templates.
I made and designed a series of jigs and templates on the cnc to aid the build of the table. A router compass jig, adjustable cam clamps for gluing the table top segments together. Custom spindle moulder bearing guides.

Collage_Fotor 39.jpg


Milling the material
Started by rough milling oversized material for the build and then stickering for a few weeks before final I began work.

Collage_Fotor 1.jpg



Milling material for the under table fins.

Started with some thick oak which would be first shaped them cut and finished into 12mm thick.
I don't have much experience using the planer head on the spindle. My plan was to use the template screwed to oak and mill all the way around even the flat side. I found that this left not a lot contact to the table and a few times the template lifted/tipped. Next time I would plane the flat edge on the planer first so i wouldn't have to plane it on the spindle. Then use a much wider template for more stability. Once the bits had been on the spindle I proceed to slice the blocks into strips.
Collage_Fotor 2.jpg


Some pieces developed a few cracks so I just glued them back together. Then all sent through the planer and drum sander.

Collage_Fotor 3.jpg


Tidying up the ends and ebonising the fins. Homemade vinegar and wire wool soultion.

Collage_Fotor 4.jpg


A bit more machining, second coat of ebonising after sanding, masking areas to be glued and first coat of osmo.

Collage_Fotor 5.jpg


After ebonising the the first coat of oil I proceeded to chamfer the edges to create contrast.

Collage_Fotor 6.jpg


Next post will be focusing on the top.
 

Attachments

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The table top.
Planning up and sanding the segments to final thickness.

Collage_Fotor 7.jpg


I am using my spindle to accurately shape each segment. The template has 10mm recessed holes in which I use a 10mm drill to transfer screw marks to the top. The template is then screwed to each piece.

Collage_Fotor 8.jpg


Grain direction...
In order for the grain to be in the correct direction for each cut so I am not climb cutting I created bearing guides top and bottom of the rebate head.
This allows me to flip the wood and template over lower/raise the rebate block so that the template is now touching the other bearing wihout having to remove the template.

Collage_Fotor 9.jpg


Coming along.

Collage_Fotor 10.jpg


Using a biscuit router bit a added slots for 3mm thick ply to act as the joiners between each piece. You can also see the clamps I designed here to clamp up segments. To stop the wedges from sliding when clamped I screwed the very centre of the segments together. This came to bite me later as a screw snapped after being glued in. Annoying I plunged a new router bit straight into it later on.

Collage_Fotor 11.jpg


Here are a close up of the cam clamps that worked better than I had imagined. For the next design I will make them a little stronger and more adjustable.

Collage_Fotor 12.jpg


Dry clamping went to plan... With glue another story. I tried to glue up a 1/4 at a time, I just didn't have the clamping pressure to do this and resulted in me panicking and trying to salvage the pieces by taking it all apart and doing my best before the glue set up. Some joints had to be re-cut.

Collage_Fotor 13.jpg


For the next glue ups I glued one joint at a time in sections and all went to plan. Got exactly 90 degrees on one segment! Fluke.

Collage_Fotor 14.jpg


I used a guide and a straight router trim bit to clean up the edges of each 1/4 then 1/2 section to get a perfect join. To clamp these 1/4 together I used a combination of the superglue and tape method and clamps to temporally hold wood in position while I pulled the top together.

Collage_Fotor 15.jpg


I repeated this for the half section. I trimmed the inner circle to 50mm then using my circle jig trimmed the table round.

Collage_Fotor 16.jpg



Next will be the slots on the underside of the table in which the fins will sit.
 
The slots.

My circle jig has a 30mm wide slot running down it in which a guide bush on the router can slide. This will enable me to cut the slots accurately. I had to come back and manually cut the slots right to the middle.

Collage_Fotor 17.jpg


I made a small rebate in the fins so that they sit over slots.

Collage_Fotor 18.jpg


Next is to hide the screw holes that were made from using the template. Using the router circle jig plunged 10mm holes evenly around and then filled with Wenge worktop off cuts.

Collage_Fotor 19.jpg


A good sanding and a first coat of Oil then a second with light sanding inbetween.

Collage_Fotor 20.jpg


I decided to try 'wet' sanding on the top with OSMO oil. I applied a coat as thin as I could. Then using 180 grit wet and dry on a block with white spirit as lubricant I went and gave the top a good sanding. I am very happy with the results from this filled all the deep grain leaving it dead flat compared to the underside of the table. You can see the paste being created.

After this I sanded down again and applied another coat or two.

Collage_Fotor 21.jpg


Wood movement issue... I should have seen this coming. Notice the cone shape to the once flat table. This was due to bringing inside a heated workshop for oiling.

How to fix??
Option 1: Cut slots all the way through the top to allow for expansion/contraction of the outer most areas.
Option 2: Mum suggest cutting out the middle.

I spent a good week thinking about what to do. Mums are always right so I decided to cut out the middle to remove the centre section that contracts/expands a lot less than the outer edges. And if it didn't work I could always blame my mum...

Well done Mum! There is now enough flex in the table that it has gone flat. I realise that down the line I may have more issues with regards to this and the veneer/plywood route would be a better option..

Collage_Fotor 22.jpg


Centre fin block.
This is what all the fins will attach to. Used the CNC to cut 18mm birch ply and then glued them all together using some offcut fins to get the alignment correct.

Collage_Fotor 31.jpg


Attaching the four support fins.
Four fins glue into the deeper slots of the core section. I used some planed wood to get each piece parallel and straight. This was then glued to the center of the table that we cut out earlier.

Collage_Fotor 23.jpg


To mount the base to the table top I milled up a disc with threaded holes that sits on the top of the core and sandwiched between the top. Threaded rod is then used to pull the table together.

Collage_Fotor 24.jpg


Next will be more on the fins.
 
The table top.
Planning up and sanding the segments to final thickness.

View attachment 157419

I am using my spindle to accurately shape each segment. The template has 10mm recessed holes in which I use a 10mm drill to transfer screw marks to the top. The template is then screwed to each piece.

View attachment 157420

Grain direction...
In order for the grain to be in the correct direction for each cut so I am not climb cutting I created bearing guides top and bottom of the rebate head.
This allows me to flip the wood and template over lower/raise the rebate block so that the template is now touching the other bearing wihout having to remove the template.

View attachment 157421

Coming along.

View attachment 157422

Using a biscuit router bit a added slots for 3mm thick ply to act as the joiners between each piece. You can also see the clamps I designed here to clamp up segments. To stop the wedges from sliding when clamped I screwed the very centre of the segments together. This came to bite me later as a screw snapped after being glued in. Annoying I plunged a new router bit straight into it later on.

View attachment 157424

Here are a close up of the cam clamps that worked better than I had imagined. For the next design I will make them a little stronger and more adjustable.

View attachment 157425

Dry clamping went to plan... With glue another story. I tried to glue up a 1/4 at a time, I just didn't have the clamping pressure to do this and resulted in me panicking and trying to salvage the pieces by taking it all apart and doing my best before the glue set up. Some joints had to be re-cut.

View attachment 157426

For the next glue ups I glued one joint at a time in sections and all went to plan. Got exactly 90 degrees on one segment! Fluke.

View attachment 157427

I used a guide and a straight router trim bit to clean up the edges of each 1/4 then 1/2 section to get a perfect join. To clamp these 1/4 together I used a combination of the superglue and tape method and clamps to temporally hold wood in position while I pulled the top together.

View attachment 157428

I repeated this for the half section. I trimmed the inner circle to 50mm then using my circle jig trimmed the table round.

View attachment 157429


Next will be the slots on the underside of the table in which the fins will sit.
The table top.
Planning up and sanding the segments to final thickness.

View attachment 157419

I am using my spindle to accurately shape each segment. The template has 10mm recessed holes in which I use a 10mm drill to transfer screw marks to the top. The template is then screwed to each piece.

View attachment 157420

Grain direction...
In order for the grain to be in the correct direction for each cut so I am not climb cutting I created bearing guides top and bottom of the rebate head.
This allows me to flip the wood and template over lower/raise the rebate block so that the template is now touching the other bearing wihout having to remove the template.

View attachment 157421

Coming along.

View attachment 157422

Using a biscuit router bit a added slots for 3mm thick ply to act as the joiners between each piece. You can also see the clamps I designed here to clamp up segments. To stop the wedges from sliding when clamped I screwed the very centre of the segments together. This came to bite me later as a screw snapped after being glued in. Annoying I plunged a new router bit straight into it later on.

View attachment 157424

Here are a close up of the cam clamps that worked better than I had imagined. For the next design I will make them a little stronger and more adjustable.

View attachment 157425

Dry clamping went to plan... With glue another story. I tried to glue up a 1/4 at a time, I just didn't have the clamping pressure to do this and resulted in me panicking and trying to salvage the pieces by taking it all apart and doing my best before the glue set up. Some joints had to be re-cut.

View attachment 157426

For the next glue ups I glued one joint at a time in sections and all went to plan. Got exactly 90 degrees on one segment! Fluke.

View attachment 157427

I used a guide and a straight router trim bit to clean up the edges of each 1/4 then 1/2 section to get a perfect join. To clamp these 1/4 together I used a combination of the superglue and tape method and clamps to temporally hold wood in position while I pulled the top together.

View attachment 157428

I repeated this for the half section. I trimmed the inner circle to 50mm then using my circle jig trimmed the table round.

View attachment 157429


Next will be the slots on the underside of the table in which the fins will sit.
@SkinnyB .
Lovely design and execution. Did you experience any problems with a odd joint opening up when the table(top) was moved from your workshop into your home?
I had that problem, but then I didn't strengthen the joints like you have.
Fred
 
Attaching the fins to the main table top. The slot made from the section I cut out is perfect to drop some clamps into to enable me to clamp the fins.

Collage_Fotor 25.jpg


Now time to work on the base.

Rough cut the material on the bandsaw. I am using the same technique with the wedges and a template. This time I have a vari block in the spindle set to 30 degrees. Using a custom bearing I can use it to run along the template. I cant flip the template and wood this time so one side I am climb cutting a little. I took light passes and there was very little tear out if any.

Collage_Fotor 26.jpg


Trimming the top and bottoms to the correct compound angles and test fit. I was expecting to adjust the angle of a few pieces but got it straight away. There is a miniscule gap on the inside which will mean when clamping the outer edges will be pulled in very right.

Collage_Fotor 27.jpg


Drilling out the screw holes where the template mounted. Using the biscuit jointer to create a slot for 3mm ply again.
I made a custom clamping jig to pull the cone joints together which worked well.

Collage_Fotor 28.jpg



Filling the holes with maple to contrast against the ebonised oak. I wasn't very happy with this result. The ebonised solution did stain them a little. I think maybe stainless steel would work better next time.

Collage_Fotor 29.jpg


The table has a 50mm hole in the middle I would like to cap. I turned a piece of scrap steel and polished it up a little.
I also pressed then welded a round section under it for a thread that will run through the entire table.

Collage_Fotor 30.jpg


Core section.

More pieces for the core section were made on the CNC using some end grain Oak.

Collage_Fotor 32.jpg



As my cnc only has 50mm Z capacity I had too glue two blocks together using dowels.
Finished by ebonising and oiling. A stainless collar is added to the top section.

Collage_Fotor 33.jpg


Now to fix the big slot I made in the table by removing the middle.
This will become a lazy Susan using a 450mm bearing.

Cut some wedges on the table saw sled and cleaned up the edges on the wide belt sander. Slots for the 3mm plywood joiners made on the router table.

Collage_Fotor 34.jpg

Collage_Fotor 35.jpg


Next more on the Lazy Susan...
 
Once glued I mounted it to the cnc and cut the pocket for the bearing and then contoured cut the rest. A final heavy chamfer on both inner and outer edges.

The piece was then ebonised and Oiled.

Collage_Fotor 36.jpg


Made a few bowls and plates to accompany the table. They have a threaded outer profile which spirals all the way around gently progressing down. The outer edges were the torched with a plumbing torch. Coat of food safe oil finished them off.

Collage_Fotor 38.jpg


Made a few serving boards from the wedge shaped offcuts from the base. Chamfered the edges then ebonised fairly carefully. A coat of oil on the sides and once dry pass through the drum sander then gave a clean edge. Then a final oil.

Collage_Fotor 37.jpg


About time I put the thing together..

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We will be keeping this table for when we have a house with enough room. Now a sentimental piece for us to cherish and the memories of our first meal as married couple together.

A very fun project which I learnt lots from. I have a big list of changes for the next table if any commissions become of it.
Now I just need to design some chairs...

Collage_Fotor 46.jpg


Collage_Fotor 45.jpg
 
@SkinnyB .
Lovely design and execution. Did you experience any problems with a odd joint opening up when the table(top) was moved from your workshop into your home?
I had that problem, but then I didn't strengthen the joints like you have.
Fred
Thank you!

I had the very centre joints try to pull apart. Next time I would make my 3mm ply joiners go a lot closer to the centre of the table to aid strength. I think at the end of the day its going to move. Where ever you try to reinforce it the wood will find a weak spot to pull apart somewhere else with this kind of solid wood design.

I made this table in two opposite condition workshops due to the weather and my work situation. A damp cold unheated one and a dry heated warm one. Moving between the two caused issues. ideally I would have a single shop in close to humidity as my house which would help.

This is also why I stickered my wood after initial milling to try and get it to acclimatise.
 
I had the very centre joints try to pull apart.
I was wondering if that was going to happen. I've only seen such tables with a veneered top.
The outer bases of the trapezium segments are bound to expand more than the inner ones.
No way to avoid it when working with solid wood.
 
Lovely design and finish. It looks great
I always worry about timber movement. I think that by removing the centre of teh top for the lay suzan part the table ring will be able to contract/expand fairly freely. Had the top not had the centre removed it might have pulled itself apart
Great job. Great write up
Ian
 
A magnificent table. Not to my personal taste, but clearly excellent workmanship and imaginative design. Great job; I'll bet your wife (to be?) is very pleased.
 
An amazing and impressive piece of work. How did you ensure that the table didn’t tip over as the central support seems to have a small footprint?
I presume that the table will be an heirloom and not just a celebration of you and your wife’s special day!!
 
Lovely build @SkinnyB and congratulations. I've been following you on Instagram for a while and been interesting to follow along with all your creations on there. I think I came across your Instagram when you posted your handheld planer sled post - looks like you've acquired a lot more kit since then!
 
Wood movement issue... I should have seen this coming. Notice the cone shape to the once flat table. This was due to bringing inside a heated workshop for oiling.

How to fix??
Option 1: Cut slots all the way through the top to allow for expansion/contraction of the outer most areas.
Option 2: Mum suggest cutting out the middle.
I'm impressed with your ability work through difficult technical challenges. The end result is very attractive, but like others I do wonder about stability with the fairly small footprint of the base.

I think you're right to say you should have seen that wood movement issue coming. I suspect, long term, your solution of cutting a big hole in the middle won't prove to be a solution and that joints will eventually open up, or splits will develop. The assembled approximate 300 mm squares below were each made of four triangular pieces of beech biscuited and glued together. The resultant changes in dimension through further drying in one assemblage and increased moisture content in the other suggest what might happen in your table. Maybe you'll consider MDF, or similar, and veneer for a any future commission for a table of similar appearance. Slainte.

121MitreFail.jpg


122MitreFail.jpg
 
I went all the way through, waiting for the picture of the lovely bride and handsome groom - only to see a bunch of pictures of impressive woodworking on a stunning table. I feel cheated!
 

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