Introduction: Live Edge Walnut Patlo
Patlo pl. patlas -
Definition : Low stool used in the Parsi community to highlight the person from the crowd during a celebration. At weddings the bride and groom stand on the patlo during part of the ceremony.
I have made lots of Patlas over the past few years. This time I decided to make one from live edge walnut.
The main criteria for making a patla is to not have any iron or metal to assemble it. The patlas are made using joints and glue only. My criteria for a patlo is that it should be able to take 400lbs of weight and should also be wide and long enough to be easily stood on by 2 adults. This would be approximately 24-30 inches long and 14-16 inches wide. The height doesn't really matter as long and people can step on it easily and little chance of falling off. In this instructable, I will show you how I made this patla with joints and Japanese inspired wooden legs. Yes, it does look like a charcuterie board and I have made several now using the same principals, hence the knife on the picture for reference.
Step 1: Materials and Tools Used
Live edge walnut slabs - two , approximately 1.25 inch thick, 12" wide and 30" in length
Hard maple - two, 2 x 2 inches and around 18 inches or the width of the walnut slab
Finished with Monocoat by Ligna Bio Supra
Tools and equipment
At a minimum you will need
- plunge and table router with 1/2 inch dovetail bit
- bench planer
- buffing pad
- wooden mallet
- pipe clamps
- sanding paper
- screw driver
Useful but not necessary
- biscuit jointer with #10 biscuits
- circular saw
- table jointer
- wax paper
Step 2: Preparing the Walnut Slab
- Take off the walnut bark with a screw driver and (DIY) mallet. I used a chisel after I took off the main bark. Note that walnut slabs that have been rough sawn may have dirt so I made sure I brushed off the wood with a wire brush before I used the planer
- The walnut will come to life after a few passes through the planer. No need to get it to the finish stage at this point as there will be a few more occasions to use the planer
- Cut the walnut into approx. 5 inch wide strips using a circular saw and DIY circular saw straight edge jig
- Plane one more time to get even thickness across the 4 boards that has the best character and grain.
- I picked the wood so that once assembled, the two live edges and 2 middle boards would look like a single piece of wood.
Step 3: Gluing the Boards
Gluing the 4 boards was a bit tricky. Normally you can just use pipe clamps, but on live edge this can be challenging. Initially I thought I'd build a jig to square off all 4 sides but thought I'd try to be careful and glue the boards using clamps and biscuit joiner to keep the entire assembly aligned. I used my biscuit jointer with #10 biscuits then glued and clamped the 4 boards. I did not use too much pressure on the clamps as I didn't want to ruin the live edge. I clamped and applied enough pressure to see even glue squeeze out across the joints
Step 4: Preparing the Legs (tenons) Part 1
On my table jointer, I made sure that the maple legs were squared off perfectly
- I marked 1cms square on two edges and cut them off on the table saw.
Thats it for this step although do not change the depth of the tablesaw until you finish the next step.
Step 5: Preparing the Mortise for the Legs
Once the glue is dry (24 hours) , clean up the bottom of the board. Make sure its flat, if not you will have lots of problems attaching the legs. I found this out the hard way
- What we want is a 1cm square mortises on the underside of the board where the legs will be attached.
- set the tablesaw fence at 2.5 inches from the edge of the board and score the bottom, 1 cms deep. Do the same on the other edge.
- re adjust the fence by the thickness of the kerf of the blad. In my case it was 4 mm and repeat till you get around 1 cm wide mortises on both leg positions. Consistency on both legs is important, the measurements can be off a bit as long as both the sides are the same.
- cleanup the mortises with a chisel. Dont need to be perfect as the router will clean it up to the final version
- setup the plunge router so that the depth of the bit is exactly the same as the depth of the mortise.
- using the edge guide shave off one side of the mortise to the angle of the bit. Repeat it for the other side and the second mortise as well. Make sure you have a clean entry and exit area of the mortise, the other areas are not that important to be precise.
Step 6: Preparing the Tenon - Part 2
Using the same 1/2 inch router bit on the router table, adjust the depth so that it barely touches the shoulders of the tenon i.e. around 1 cm in depth
- start shaving each edge by moving the router table fence by 1 mm at a time. check the fit of the leg in the table mortise. You'll have to repeat this till you get the correct fit.
- TIP: for very fine tuning you could use the chisel or just use a playing card on a router fence to shave off .25mm (thickness of the playing card) at a time. See this technique over here
Step 7: Finishing
Finish the legs by cutting an angle on the edges as well as the length of the legs. This gave it a bit of a Japanese look to it.
Apply glue to the mortise and the legs and slip in the legs. Put the patlo on a flat table with weights on it. No need for clamps here as the legs were quite snug and really didn't need glue.
I sanded the table with 120, 180 and 220 Grits using my Fein multimaster circular sander attachment.
After sanding I finished the patla by cleaning with a tack cloth and applying a monocoat.
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