I finally finished this hall table. The table has been an exercise in procrastination – but then it has been a fairly high risk project. With just enough timber – maybe not quite enough – there was no room for error. And the table incorporated a bunch of new techniques and joinery. David Pye’s ‘workmanship of risk’ and Murphy’s Law both apply!
The table started with a slab of Banksia that I bought from the local slab shop (Australian Timber Slab Creations in Townsend). A few days later, Dean and Pauline opened their shed to the local Woodies for a sale – and I found the matching consecutive slab. Each end was a bit wild, but there was about 1.5 metres of clear straight timber in each.
Banksia is a very showy timber – it has a quiet grain pattern, but a glorious lacy figure similar to Silky Oak. The colour is a deep golden brown, with pink tones. The timber isn’t hard, but it is light. I’d never worked with it before, but I just loved that figure and colour.
A live edged hall table started to take shape – a slender, light and elegant table that showed off the very flashy timber.
With all the uncertainty, I postponed a start several times – I even made another small table, just to check on the design. The design required a good deal of hand work – legs splayed outwards just slightly, the legs had a curved taper, and through mortises in the apron. I fussed over those tenons in the apron – I worried that they would distract from the clean lines, but in the end, I think they made a nice highlight.
By the time the table was finally sanded, assembled and ready for the finish, there was a good deal of physical and mental energy invested. The process of applying the finish is just another opportunity to stuff it all up.
I tested four different finishes before deciding to go with my favourite Feast & Watsons Floor Seal Oil – a polyurethane and tung oil blend for hardwood floors. It doesn’t affect the colour much, and it is fairly forgiving in application – I brushed it on, and wiped it off with a pad, taking care not to overwork the finish. Four coats on the top, three on the undercarriage, then some Gilly Stephenson Carnuba wax.
Happy with that!