Surf Board Table III -vii


I tried to get an image that shows how the black dye along with my oil finish brings out the grain in the ash wood used to make the base of the surfboard table. One of the reasons that I dye the wood is to accentuate the grain to create a fluid-like pattern under the top.

Please be sure and take a look at this next posting.

Surf Board Table III -vi


I mix a custom blend for my wipe on, oil finish. After the oil mix is applied I allow it to soak into the wood then wipe it dry. I’ll apply at least three coats, buffing with very fine steel wool in between coats. Each coat takes a day to dry.

After the second coat of dye dries on the base I’ll apply the oil mix over the dye.



Surf Board Table III -v


I’ve attached the cross pieces onto the base structure and after a little final sanding it is ready to be dyed black.


I use a water based aniline dye. It will take two applications with some light sanding in between to give a nice even color. The water based dye will not fade when exposed to uv light as will alcohol based dye. Water based dye does raise the grain a little, hence the extra sanding step.

While the base dries I work on sanding the edges of the top.


It’s important to not overlook any detail at this stage. Soon I’ll be applying the finish and any touch-ups or adjustments will be very hard to do after that.


The edges are staring to look nice and wood grain is starting to show it’s beauty. The top needs a final sanding and I will be ready to apply the finish.


As I work through ever finer grades of sandpaper, to bring out the true beauty of the wood, various small scratches begin to appear. They were always there, but were so fine that they weren’t visible until the wood around them is sanded with a very fine grit. The scraper takes very fine shavings off these areas, which will then be further sanded so that the top has a uniform, very fine, surface.



Surf Board Table III -iv


The table base is glued up. While the glue sets I’ll start sanding the boards I’ve glued up for the top. First I set up some cross pieces on a work bench.


By using shims I can get the three cross pieces aligned in a single plane. This helps as I need to now sand the top as flat as I can. Having the work piece rest on a flat plane helps a lot. And now I begin sanding the top. Table tops take a lot of sanding.


I start with a belt sander.

To make sure that I am sanding the work piece flat I check it often with a pair of winding sticks.


And then I go back to sanding. Eventually I get one face flat, then I turn it over and work on the other face. After an hour or so of using the belt sander I turn to a jig I developed some years ago to further flatten the work and to take out the machine marks left by the power belt sander.


It’s good exercise!

When the top is flat and smoothed I lay the pattern back on it, trace the outline one more time and then cut it out with a jig saw.


Sorry about the dust on the camera lens. Things are pretty dusty at this point.

The sawn edge is smoothed by using a sharp block plane.


The edge is then rounded over with a router.


And the top is starting to look like a surfboard.



Next in the series.

Surf Board Table III -iii

The legs are cut to fit up against the center arc at a 30 degree angle and mortises or slots are cut on that beveled face to receive the tenons that fit through the arc. I use the arc pattern to locate the slots in the arc.


After cutting those I do the final shaping on the arc. The convex curve is shaped on the belt sander table.


And the concave curve is shaped by hand using a spoke shave.


A test assembly of two of the legs to the arc reveals an interesting form.


I often take a little time to consider the forms created by accident when assembling furniture elements. To some degree there is not that much “accident” involved as I intentionally created the parts with the goal of creating an interesting or compelling shape.

I use to whip out an old Polaroid camera and take a few shots. Then I’d pin them to my office wall. I still study them for ideas.


Now I use one of digital cameras and my hard drive has become the studio wall. I actually like the studio wall better.

Adding the second set of legs makes it easier to see how this could turn into a coffee table.p1010019.jpg

Next I’ll shape the top, add some cross pieces and I can glue up the base.

Next post is here.