By Jan Verhoff, Spicy Salty Sweet Home
I've been wanting something unique, sturdy, but easy to care for to put in our family room for our kiddos. I'm very excited to share the finished product and the process we took in creating this table.
1. The first step is finding a piece of wood.
We went to a local sawmill, Kreis Sawmill, to find a piece. The perk of going to a sawmill is that often they will kiln dry the wood which will lead to less undulation.
Keep in mind that it is very important to get a ring that is as dry as possible. The wood ring will crack as this is the nature of wood, but the less amount of drying that needs to occur the less amount of cracking that will take place.
The other naturally occurring phenomena is that wood will have a tendency to bend or warp a little as it dries. Again, having a piece that is as dry as possible will help minimize the changes that could occur.
2. Decide which side will be the usable surface or upside.
You could make this decision based on the look of one side or the levelness of a side. For example, we chose the usable surface or top due to it being concave. Therefore, when the kids set a pencil on the table it will roll towards the middle.
3. Start with the bottom side prep and stain work.Start the sanding work on the bottom. Sand out the rough areas first with 60 grit paper on a belt sander. Once the large marks are removed move to the orbital sander using 80 grit and then 120 grit. You do not need the bottom to be perfect as it will not be seen.
4. Moving to the top side prep and stain work.
Use the belt sander with 80 grit to remove the grinder marks, changing belts and discs frequently. Then, move to the orbital sander with 60 then 80 grit paper. Progressing to 120 grit and finally 300 grit to ensure the ultimate smoothness.
When you are happy with the surface take a tack rag and vacuum to remove as much sawdust as possible. If necessary, let the surface dry then use the 300 grit to take off any remaining rough areas and vacuum again.
Next is applying 3 coats of the clear satin finish. The finish is rich and really shows off the grain. While applying each coat, have the shop vac hose running to prevent any air particles or dust from landing on the table and causing imperfections. To speed the drying you could place an oscillating fan about 3 feet from the table.
As you can see we are really enjoying our new kids table! It is very sturdy and has been easy to care for as we have already used markers, crayons, and play dough on it.