Steel + Walnut + Butternut Coffee Table

Black Walnut top, Butternut shelf, and steel structure. Why spill coffee on anything less?

The Walnut is from a reject pile at an Amish mill and had been sitting outside for 8 months when I came across it a few years ago.

I used a steel structure to help provide strength for pulling the unevenly dried wood flat, without adding bulk, while still allowing for seasonal wood movement. (…and it was an additional reason – whether reasonable or not – to buy a welder)

We wanted the steel to look dull/matte and not reflective. To do that, I sandblasted some parts, wire-wheeled others, and abrasive-sponged others. I chose this combination of techniques because I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing, an just wanted to find the method that I was the least bad at.

The design effort was greater than it may seem. Here are the designs leading up to it.

There’s a lot of interesting figure going on: The ripples are considered “angel step” I believe, as well as what seems to be a sort of 3-way crotch section, which gives a neat blend of the feathery squiggliness.

Finished with several coats of the 1/3’s mix: 1/3 BLO, 1/3 Mineral Spirits, 1/3 Polyurethane. This combination has proved very durable around our house.

To address the warping, I used brackets underneath to pull the sides to the same level.
Testing sandblasting.
Angles are hard.

The natural color and large open pores of the Butternut coordinated nicely with the natural color and open pores of the Walnut.

I used a satin sheen for the last few coats to give a nice soft reflection and hide future afflictions.