The fun thing about using reclaimed wood for projects is you never know what you’re going to find when you go to harvest. We were commissioned to build a bathroom vanity for a family, and they wanted to use some old hickory that they had milled from their farm and had been storing in one of their barn lofts. Aside from the fact that looking for wood in an old barn has a certain fun, nostalgic factor to it, it’s always interesting to look around and see what else you can find. I saw a huge oak slab that looked like it had been sitting there for many years. A friend of mine had asked a while back if I could make a live edge bar for them. I, of course, said yes, but told them we would have to search for a slab that would work. This one was perfect, 2 inches thick, over 8 feet long, and beautiful grain patterns. I immediately offered to buy the slab, took it home, and started figuring out to work with something like this.
The first issue with working with slabs is getting them flat. Outside of owning a very wide planer (which we don’t), you have to be creative when getting these things level. I found some plans for a router sled jig, built it, and it worked out great for this project. They also really wanted a metal base to go on the bottom of their table, but I’ve never welded and Dustin hasn’t since he was a kid. Luckily, Suzanne’s (my fiancee) stepdad is a great welder, and was kind enough to teach us how to do it. We quickly learned, bought the metal, welded, polished, epoxied the holes in the table, sanded, finished, and the first oak live edge bar table was born! This was really three projects in one. We’re very excited to now be able to work with slabs, and have the ability to make metal bases as an option for products.