Today I’m going to be finishing up the kitchen table build from last week.
I found a really cool lumber yard somewhat near my house call West Gate Hardwoods. I was able to pick up some nice red oak for the table top.
I laid the boards down and rough cut them using my cordless circular saw.
If you put a couple pieces of scrap wood underneath, you won’t cut into the board below.
The table top would only use these 5 pieces. The rest of the wood is for upcoming projects.
Using my tiny little jointer, I flattened one side of each piece.
At the table saw, I put each newly flattened edge against the fence and ripped them to make two perfectly parallel sides.
These boards had already been skip planed at the lumberyard, and were already pretty flat. I ran them through my planer to finish the job.
I laid the boards down in the orientation that I wanted the finished top to lie, and then marked where the biscuits would go.
Using my biscuit jointer, I plunged into each spot there was a line. This doesn’t add strength to the joint, but really helps to line everything up during the glue-up.
I grabbed 8 of my long clamps and prepped everything before pulling out the glue. I had each board numbered so I wouldn’t mix them up.
I put down a generous amount of glue and then spread it across the entire surface with a piece of scrap wood.
I plopped in the biscuits and laid the boards flat onto the clamps.
I slowly tightened up each clamp until there was squeeze-out in all 4 joints. Then I grabbed the other 4 clamps and did the same thing from the top.
I also attached a clamp at each joint to try and keep them all flat.
My father-in-law helped me remove the clamps. The glue-up was a success.
The top needed to be cut into a 48-inch circle and I would use a router to get the job done.
To make a quick circle jig, I cut a piece of scrap ¼-inch plywood into a 3.5-inch strip.
I removed the stock router plate and marked the screw holes onto my board. I drilled and counter-sunk so the screw heads wouldn’t interfere with operation. I also marked out the center hole and cut it out using a forstner bit on the drill press.
I attached the jig and swapped the existing bit for a straight bit.
I carefully marked out measurements for different circle dimensions.
Using a tape measure I marked out the center of the top.
I tacked in a nail at the 24-inch radius mark to the center of the board and started cutting.
After double checking that I hadn’t made a huge mistake, I continued cutting.
I circled the board a bunch of times, slightly lowering the bit with every pass. It’s important to keep a constant speed and downward pressure on the router to make consistent cuts.
Once I had cut down this far I used my jig saw to rough cut the rest of the way through. I made sure to stay away from the crisp inside edge.
We flipped the board over and, using a flush trim bit, I cleaned the remainder of the edge. The bottom bearing rides along the smooth, cut edge and matches it to the rough one. Again, keeping a constant speed and pressure makes for a smooth cut.
Since I don’t own a 50-inch drum sander, it was time to bust out the belt sander for several hours of sanding. I sanded both the top and bottom, as well as the edge.
Once the top was rough sanded down to 80 grit, I used the router again, this time with a ¼ inch round over bit. I tested the bit on a piece of scrap wood before bringing it to the top. I slowly moved around the top flipped it to get the other side.
This was the beginning of my first big mistake. I used a white, non-stainable epoxy to fill some knots and cracks. I wouldn’t know it at the time, but it would come back to haunt me later.
I cleaned up all the epoxy and then sanded down to 220 grit with the random orbit sander.
We decided to use a dark walnut stain that I applied with a rag. It went on easily, but you can already see my blatant mistake. Not knowing any better, I tried to add extra stain to try and make it soak in. Nope, that doesn’t work.
I re-sanded the entire surface and used some stainable wood filler in its place.
I was finally able to get a great looking stain across the entire top.
I applied an even coat of spar urethane with a brush across the entire surface. Once everything was covered, I went back and made smooth, even strokes going with the grain.
This was the bottom and it looked awesome.
Major problem number two occurred while finishing the show face of the top.
For some reason, when I applied the spar urethane to the top, it bubbled up really bad as it dried. When I tried to sand it smooth with 400 grit paper after it had dried, it just kept making a cloudy, white coating.
I ended up having to sand down the entire finish and stain and starting over from scratch, again! After re-staining, I used a couple cans of spray polyurethane and, in the end, the table actually turned out great.
My Project Tools