Introduction: Live Edge Slab Coffee Table With Bow Ties

About: Born in Berlin in 1985, engineer, contrarian, 'The Big Bang Theory' fan, my other blog: - find me on Twitter @pixelgeb and reddit u/Stishio

I bought a lot of oak from my lokal sawmill for a new dining table. This nice oak slab was a remnant from my order and I bought it as well. Before I'll start with my dining table project, I'll make a new coffee table for the living room. I'll try a new finish for the legs and the table top of the coffee table. If somethings goes south, I use a different finish for the dining table.

Also the leg design of the coffee table is similar to the dining table. This project is the staging area :D

...and it turned out very nice. My little daughter likes it very much :D In this Instructable you can follow all my steps and hopefully be able to build your own.

Please post all your questions and remarks in the comments below. I hope you like it and will enjoy the instructions. Have fun :)

Step 1: Concept

I made a quick SketchUp model to see, if my leg idea looks good in combination with the slab. I took the dimensions for the legs directly from the model. I put the SketchUp file into the attachments. If you have any question, please feel free to ask me.

Step 2: De-Bark and Flatting the Surfaces

Well, the picture of the oak slab does not show the actual slab I've used. I missed to take a "before picture", but this slab is very similar and from the same wood order. I've already some plans for this beauty :)

So let's begin with removing the bark. This process is very messy. The bark was very dry in my case and this made it very difficult to remove it. I used different sizes if chisels.

Afterwards I used my plane to even the surfaces. This is a very nice workout.

Step 3: Cutting Into Length

The top and bottom surfaces are even and parallel to each other. Now it's time for the sides. I used my plunge saw with a guiding rail to cut the edges. Unfortunately the saw could not cut right through the material. I finished the job with my Japanese hand saw.

Step 4: Bow Ties From River Red Gum

There is a huge cut through the wooden slab. I used bow ties to stabilize the slab and they are neat eye-catchers :)

I wanted a different looking wood for the bow ties. I bought a cutting board from a local design store. It was made of olive wood and red eucalyptus, which is known as river red gum. The river red gum has an awesome look.

I used my bandsaw to cut out the bow ties - two big ones and one small one. I marked the position on the wooden slab and used a boxcutter to pre-cut the upper grains of the wood.

I did the raw cutting with my router and the fine cutting using very sharp chisels. It's important to be very accurate with this. You will see any mistake later on. The cutting depth should be a little bit less than the bow tie height.

I used wood glue and some saw dust to cover small gaps. The bow ties and the surface are not even, but this will be fixed with some grinding or planing.

Step 5: Cutting and Sanding the Legs

Ok well I do not have many pictures for this part. I used my bandsaw to cut all leg pieces as in the SketchUp file and the "blue print" described. I used my sander to finish the surfaces.

Step 6: Glueing the Legs and Filling Gaps

I made a small jig to help me with the glueing process. I used a metal plate and some spare pieces of wood with magnets. This jig helps my to keep the pieces in place. Make sure everything is in square.

I used wood glue and some saw dust to fill the gaps.

Step 7: Finishing the Legs

I used wall nut stain to paint the leg pieces. I needed three layers of stain. When everything was dry, I used wood oil to apply another finish to the surfaces.

Step 8: Sanding the Table Top

Now comes another messy part. I wanted a very nice and smooth finish for my coffee table. I started with a plane to even the bow ties. Then I used my sander to grind the table top. I used 80, 120 and finished with 240 sanding paper. Look a the nice gloss, there is now oil or finish applied. I did the live edge by hand.

Step 9: Finishing the Table Top Surface

Now comes the experiment. I bought hard wood oil with wax for the table top. This was meant to be used for the dining table. But I was anxious, that this would not work with the oak. So I did this project to check it out :)

Well what can I say. It's awesome. I like the look, the way to apply it, everything. The grain of the oak looks awesome and the eucalyptus has a nice red glow.

Step 10: Joining Table Top and Legs Together

Ok this part is very unspectacularly :) I used screw to mount the table top on the legs. That's it :)

Step 11: Done

Well that's it. Now I have my own live edge coffee table. The finishes worked out pretty nice and are now approved for my dining table.

Congratulations, everything is done and you are hopefully a proud owner of a new coffee table as well :D I hope you will enjoy building this. Please let me know your experiences and improvements. Please put photos in the comments. :)

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