Introduction: Power-Carving a Funky Table

About: I'm a DIYer and creator likes to build, capture, and share my creations.

Full video build is below and can be found with the rest of my projects on my Youtube Channel followed by detailed instructions below.

Make sure you check out the video build above!

The full detailed instructions for this project, including design, cuts, and full assembly can be found on my blog, The Cutting Bored, or you can thumb through the steps below.

What an insane project. I really never know what I'm getting into with some of these ridiculous builds until I'm deep into it and realized how ambitious of a project it truly was. I drew inspiration for this piece from a master craftsmen named Caleb Woodard, who creates stunning pieces that have amazing shape and contour of all types and sizes.

However, he only showcases his work - nothing about his process, so I designed this entire project from scratch, including the methodology of the build, and it was an awesome overall experience for me as someone still experimenting with each project I take on.




          Step 1: Vote for Me If You Think My Project Is Worthy of the Current Woodworking Contest!

          Thank you so much! I hope you enjoy my project below!

          Step 2: Determine Your Table Size

          My first step was to measure out the size of my space and determine a Length x Width x Height for my project. After that, I could determine what I wanted my rough shape to look like, and from that, I could determine the amount of material to purchase.

          Step 3: Design, Gather Materials, and Cut!

          My methodology for this was as such:

          1. Determine Length x Width x Height of table
          2. Divide the depth (width) of my table into "slices" of a certain width (I chose 3") so that I could have five slices at 3" wide to make the final width of 15" for my table
          3. Determine what I want the outside shapes to look like (roughly)
          4. Determine the shape of the inner three slices so that I could transition from one outside shape to another - this was a lot of trial and error until I got to a shape I was happy with
          5. Create a side profile of your shape to make sure the transition is adequate
          6. Knowing now the five layer/slices I'd want to build, determine the number of laminated pieces I'd need for each slice shape, and then transition those numbers to an overall lumber order
          • The first photo shows my five slices.
          • The second photo shows those slices color coded based on the length of each piece (example: red = 5 inches)
          • The third photo is all of my pieces mapped out on dimensional lumber. I determined I'd need to order 8 x 10' x 4/4 stock wood cut at 3" wide each. Thus, each slat would be 10' long, roughly 1" thick, and 3" wide.
          • The final photo shows all of my cuts

          Step 4: Glue Up Round 1!

          Next, I could begin laminating my individual slices. I took this slow and consistently referenced my design plans (print them out for reference). Since I chose not to use finish nails to hold my pieces in place as I did not want to hit anything when I was eventually carving this piece down, I took the clamping very slowly, just slowly tightening each section so that nothing slipped and it all stayed flat. Doing this on top of a flat piece of plywood was very helpful and avoided any big mess in my driveway.

          A tip I picked up from Lumberjocks for spreading glue is to use an old credit card - works quickly and very efficiently for getting a thin, solid layer of glue. I let each glue up cure for 12 hours each.

          Step 5: Prep for Stack Lamination

          I repeated the glue up process for each of my five layers. This will take some time, so prep accordingly, as you want to give each section proper time to cure.

          Even though I was careful to keep things flat, the pieces still needed flattening on each end before laminating. I used my stationing belt sander for this - and it was very quick and efficient. You can see the difference in the first and third photo. They were all prepped for final lamination now.

          Step 6: Glue Up Round 2 (through 5) - Stack-Laminate!

          This was a four step process to glue up. No finish nails to hold this in place, so with each layer I stacked, I took it slow, spread the glue evenly, and clamped up incrementally to avoid slipping. The photos show the progression of each layer, resulting in the final raw shape in the last photo. Not bad right?

          Step 7: Glue Up Round 6 - Table Top

          I also laminated my table top at this point (my 5 x 23" pieces) - very simple and straight forward - just make sure to use clamps on the top and bottom to avoid any "bowing" and spread the glue evenly. After 10 minutes, you can go back and wipe away excess squeeze out. Let it dry for 12 hours before doing any work on it. I wasn't sure what my final length would be for the top, so I aimed high knowing I could cut away whatever I needed.

          You'll come to find that I did not end up using this in my final build, but if you want a wooden table top, I'll keep the steps in the write up!

          Step 8: It's Shaping Time!

          Time to carve! ArborTech sent me their Turboplane Blade for free to use in this project. It comes with everything you need to attach it to your 4" or 4.5" angle grinder.

          Step 9: Carving (Lots of It!)

          This thing is POWERFUL. I love it and was so excited to use it to shape my final table. The photos show a sequence of photos of me carving up my piece.

          Step 10: Clean Up and Finishing

          For a while I struggled with flattening and smoothing out the rough shape of this thing after using my angle grinder and the TURBO Plane.

          I tried every method in the book to sand this down, starting with belt sanding (80 grit), orbital sanding (60 grit) for curves, more fine shaping with the Turboplane, use of a small dremel sander, and then hand sanding with 60, 120, 220, 320,and 400 grit papers.

          However, no matter what I did - I just couldn't get this thing to flatten out - it was smooth, but it was wavy and frankly, looked like crap. If you reference the second photo where I am orbital sanding, you can see the grooves I am referring to - those just couldn't be flattened with my current methods. At this point, I was very close to giving up (or settle for lame), but chose instead to go through a bunch of channels to figure out how to flatten wood carvings, etc..

          I discovered Flap Discs (40 grit to be specific). This was a game changer. I removed the blade guard on my angle grinder and went to town on my project. Within an hour or two of consistent sanding - being careful not to push too hard but hard enough where needed or staying in one spot too long to avoid burning, this thing suddenly smoothed out like crazy. Wood shaping at its finest!

          Step 11: Table Top Finishing

          I flattened/sanded down the surface on my stationary sander, which got rid of nearly all of the glue.

          I then cut to my final length using my circular saw (I also cleaned up the edge straight on my stationary sander as I didn't have a straight edge to follow).

          I then used a 1/2" round over bit with my plunge router on the under side of the table to give it a sleeker profile (my first time ever using a router - they're wonderful).

          Lastly, I went up through the grits from 120 to 320 to smooth down the top in prep for my oil finish.

          Step 12: Oil!

          To finish things off, I wiped on a single coat of Natural Danish Oil using a microfiber rag to both the top of the table and the table itself.

          I love this stuff - makes the grain pop beautifully and allows you to feel the wood once it cures. I recommend it for any project where you just want to make it pop! Of course, feel free to use any finish you want!

          Step 13: Final Photos!

          Above are photos of the final project. Simply amazing to me!

          I would be so grateful if you could please subscribe to my Youtube Channel for future projects. I put out videos every other week. If you want a step by step walk through of my entire process, please check out my detailed written article at The Cutting Bored.



          Step 14: Final Thoughts and Tool List (Again)

          Few final tips for any reads based on my experience.

          • The TurboPlane works well to carve lots of material away as well as do fine planing - after I carved everything down I went back and did light passes to further shape and contour the project to cut down on sanding
          • A flap disc is a must to take down the carving grooves - you will not be able to flatten out the curves to make it smooth flowing otherwise (as far as I can tell)
          • An orbital sander works best to begin giving you the rounded smooth shape you want, followed by hand sanding with a sanding sponge.
          • The TurboPlane makes a MESS! So be prepared for shavings to be everywhere and you to be covered in sawdust.
          • Buy a face protector and gloves for this, and wear a long sleeve shirt when carving/sanding - you'll need to be shielded properly from all the material flying everywhere
          • Do not make your blank shape too small - if you do, you'll really struggle to get your angle grinder into the tight gaps and thus potentially ruin your project before it even has a chance



            Woodworking Contest 2017

            Participated in the
            Woodworking Contest 2017