Building slab furniture has become somewhat of a passion for me. Over the last few years, I’ve had a blast building dozens of pieces from slabs. These pieces are great because they’re super easy and can really allow some amazing wood that wouldn’t make it into spec lumber, to be used as a statement piece.
In this build I link up with Woodpeckers, to premiere their brand new Slab Flattening Jig. When I saw the options for the slabs to test out the jig, this ambrosia maple slab caught my eye. So I went to work getting down to a usable thickness, and as the voids and color in the wood came to life, I knew I had to turn it into a live edge coffee table with a waterfall. had no clue what I was going to do with this slab until I had it milled flat and water popped it, but sometimes you have to play with the hand you’re dealt. And in this project, I was thrown pocket Aces.
When you get a good live edge slab, it’s not immediately ready for build up. You’re going to want to start out by preparing your slab on a flattening jig for a nice smooth, level top. I used the Woodpecker Slab Flattening Jig after cutting down my slab to rough thickness. This Woodpecker jig is super easy to use, simply anchoring in the sides to any flat surface and going to town.
As wood dries out, the bark will eventually die and fall off. It’s best to get ahead of this by chiseling away the park on your live edge so that you can be in full control of how your piece will look in the coming years. In my case, I took the time to sharpen my chisels beforehand for easy bark removal.
You’ll save yourself a lot of time down the road by starting your sanding process now. I sanded the top and bottom of my slab down to 80 grit and used a brush sander on the ends. This brush sander was a total lifesaver for this project, allowing me to smooth out the live edges without losing their natural beauty.
Next - since you’ll be using half of your slab as one of the legs, you’ll want to cut the edges and miters for assembly. You can make these cuts on either a table saw or tracksaw, building out the dowels for your miters using a band saw.
Next, it’s time to place these sweet metal bowties. I started by simply throwing them on with some CA glue, carving out their shape with a sharp edge. I then cut out these shaped entirely with a palm router so that the metal bowties could easily lay in the rivets. I stuck the bowties in with some epoxy for a tight hold, allowing it to dry completely before moving on to my final sand.
My design called for one live edge leg and one industrial metal leg. I used aluminum square piping for these legs, welding them together into a basic square shape. I polished and sanded down the weld lines for a clean finish.
Finally it’s time to put her together, adding the aluminum leg to one side and attaching the miters on the other. I then sanded, water popped, and applied finish to each side for a rich, beautiful finish all around.
If you liked this build, check out some of these other great projects I’ve been working on:
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Want to try this build out for yourself? Download the digital plan now for step-by-step instructions, measurements, and a detailed look at how to punch this project in the face.