Here is a beautiful Red Gum slab that I purchased last year. (Click on any photo to enlarge)
It’s a monster! 2.4 meters long by 1.2 meters wide and 50 mm thick. It weighs approximately 150 kgs. First order of business was to fill all of the pitch pockets and checks with clear epoxy.
The more meticulous you are with the filling process, the better the finish you will get.
Here is the top after a good polish and eight coats of Danish Oil.
The lower frame was a good challenge and pretty labour intensive. It involved cutting some big, half blind dovetails. Even though this joint will be hidden, perfect accuracy was important because of the massive weight of the top. Sloppy joinery would not hold up. The added challenge was that the frame was angled at 5 ½ degrees. I have cut many dovetails but it was surprising how this angle made it tricky to sight my lines when cutting. Also the Victorian Ash is 44 mm thick. After cutting all of the tails with my dovetail saw, I carefully lay out the pins.
You can see from the photo how I used an off-cut to register the 5 ½ degree angle to lay out the pins. Then I used my Lie Neilson dovetail saw to cut the pins.
A series of relief cuts are made and then the first section of waste can be removed with a Jeweller’s saw.
Then I switched to a more aggressive Coping saw to remove the remaining waste.
Removing the rest of the waste involves many hours of chiselling. You know the quote “To understand you must do”.
A glue up of this scale is always stressful but, my careful layout and accurate sawing and chiselling paid off.
In my next blog, I will finish up with the build of the base by showing the dovetailing of the the upper and lower stretchers. Then I will show ebonising and applying the Danish Oil finish.