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Burr elm table

This is where we don't want anything but evidence of your finest wood butchering in all its glorious, and photograph laden glory. Bring your finished products or WIP's, we love them all, so long as there's pictures, and plenty of 'em!

Burr elm table

Postby Steve Maskery » 07 Sep 2021, 17:51

My friend Elaine used to carve wood and stone, and she ran a gallery for many years. She is retired now and is now gradually getting rid of all her stuff. A little while ago she found a piece of burr elm and asked me to turn it into a table. "Do what you like with it".

raw burr (Medium).JPG
(229.47 KiB)


So I did, but not before it had a couple of good doses of <del>woodwork</del> woodworm fluid...

I imported that photo into SketchUp and used it to model the understructure. The legs were easy, the primary tapers cut on the tablesaw

cutting tapers (Medium).JPG
(212.6 KiB)


setup for tapers (Medium).JPG
(158.7 KiB)


The mortices were routed on my new super-duper Ultimate Router Mortising Jig.

routing mortices (Medium).JPG
(218.76 KiB)


finished mortice (Medium).JPG
(200.43 KiB)


Then the seconday bevels were planed by hand. The result is a leg that is rectangular at the top and octagonal at the toe.

I forgot to take photos of the tenoning, but this is my Ultimate Tablesaw Tenon Jig on another job.
UTTJ (Medium).JPG
(157.31 KiB)


The lengths and angles were taken straight off the printed drawing, so that the pieces go together like this:

triangle (Medium).JPG
(226.97 KiB)


Actually, when I did the first assembly, it was clear that that short rail was way too short, so I did actually replace it with a longer one. Sketchup shpws you a lot, but it's not the same as seeing it in the flesh, is it?

Slots were dominoed for buttons

clamping for domino (Medium).JPG
(236.78 KiB)


domino slots (Medium).JPG
(171.26 KiB)


The M&Ts were glued up with a shaped pad over the sharp point and then screwed together, the screw holes plugged with bog oak.

assembling MandT (Medium).JPG
(168.72 KiB)


completed base (Medium).JPG
(151.59 KiB)


There was not very much work to do to the top, but there was some. It had to be planed flat, for a start. I used a blade at a high cutting angle. A Bevel Up plane is great for this, as you can change the cutting angle just by honing the blade a bit steeper.

One side of it had a long bevel, almost down to a feather edge, and at knee height, I figured I would not be very popular if ladies were snagging their hosiery on it. Plus that area was nowhere near as pretty as the rest of the board. So Elaine and I had a conflab and decided, between us, to reshape it. A step was routed out

routing step (Medium).JPG
(226.42 KiB)
and the bevel made a lot more blunt. There was also a step on the opposite side to give a bit of balance. It has worked supremely well.

The top has had about 8 or 10 coats of a rubbing oil/varnish mixture and I think it looks fantastic. I rather hope that she doesn't, so I can buy the board off her :)

front (Medium).JPG
(136.17 KiB)


back (Medium).JPG
(129.79 KiB)
Last edited by Steve Maskery on 07 Sep 2021, 18:21, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Burr elm table

Postby Phil Pascoe » 07 Sep 2021, 18:13

What was the "woodwork fluid"? :lol:
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Re: Burr elm table

Postby Steve Maskery » 07 Sep 2021, 18:22

Oops! :)
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Re: Burr elm table

Postby Mike G » 07 Sep 2021, 18:55

That step is an interesting idea, Steve. I haven't made my mind up aboiut it yet, but it's nice to see something other than the ordinary, sometimes. Or was it just that your router depth-stop slipped? :)
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Re: Burr elm table

Postby Pete Maddex » 07 Sep 2021, 20:00

Very nice Steve.

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Re: Burr elm table

Postby Steve Maskery » 07 Sep 2021, 20:07

Thanks chaps, much appreciated. The top was more work than I anticipated. Not more is actual operation, you understand - plane flat, sand polish - and even the routing of the steps was not difficult (I have a router stabiliser jig thingy that was invaluable) but just the time it took to get the finish. Not helped by the early coats taking days to dry properly.
Mike G wrote:That step is an interesting idea, Steve. I haven't made my mind up aboiut it yet, but it's nice to see something other than the ordinary, sometimes. Or was it just that your router depth-stop slipped? :)

Ha-ha :) Actually, I know it was a risk, but it looks so much better than the original long bevel did, I have no regrets whatsoever, I'd do the same again.
Last edited by Steve Maskery on 13 Sep 2021, 19:40, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Burr elm table

Postby Cabinetman » 08 Sep 2021, 02:09

Nice result Steve, the step works well I think, the worms really do like to munch a burr, I have one I need to douse in fluid what did you use please? Mine is 8” thick in places and well infested, do you think it would get them all? Ian
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Re: Burr elm table

Postby Steve Maskery » 08 Sep 2021, 13:53

Cabinetman wrote:Nice result Steve, the step works well I think, the worms really do like to munch a burr, I have one I need to douse in fluid what did you use please? Mine is 8” thick in places and well infested, do you think it would get them all? Ian

I used a Cuprinol product, I think it's just called Cuprinol WoodworM Killer.

I've no idea if it will penetrate 8", TBH, I don't know enough about it or, indeed, woodworm generally. That slab varied from 40mm down to 25mm (which meant that it was sloping when I made it, so I hade to level it up by trimming the legs a bit).

I have got some footage of the build, and I think there is enough, but I've come to download the footage for both this and the Shaker one, and there is an empty folder where there should be files. I've lost most of the Shaker footage and I've no idea how. Not a happy bunny. :(
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Re: Burr elm table

Postby Steve Maskery » 13 Sep 2021, 19:43

Well I've got enough footage of this build to make a vid:



The actual routing of the step has gone AWOL and almost all the footage of the Shaker table. So that is film that will never see the light of day, I'm afraid :(
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