I set about this build without a clear direction on what the table would become.
I’d had this rough old waney edged oak board sitting around for a long time, and knew it would make for an interesting top. So I started there.
Boards like this tend to get left on the shelf for any project with a fixed plan.
At first sight you think you’ve got a nice big chunk. But then you allocate for ripping off the wane, avoiding the knots and sawing round the splits, and you’re left with a couple of tiny pieces that you could have more easily have dug out of the firewood pile, and saved yourself the hassle.
Used as a top though there’s barely anything that needs to go to waste. And all of those awkward defects become ‘character’.
Now I’ve never been the biggest fan of this type of piece, but I enjoyed the challenge of watching that ugly rejected lump of wood, take on it’s own refined and unique charm.
If you’re building by hand with minimal tools like me, then it’s also a good test for your hand planing skills.
Boards like this tend to be very cupped and twisted.
That means there’s a lot of material to hog down, but you’re balancing speed against control here, as those defects are prone to tear out. If you end up ripping out a deep chunk while you plane, then you’ll be cursing, as you’ll have the whole board to bring down to that level.
So the start of this build is all about flattening that top surface. We’re using our trusty No. 5, our wangy eye, and a mix of cambers to get us there in the minimal of fuss.