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Trophy Coffee Table Opelousas LA

Big planks of wood with natural bark edges make my heart race. Most woodworkers share a desire to build something from a single, thick plank of wood. After 20 years of building custom cabinets and furniture, I finally got my chance.

Opelousas - Auth Hometown
(337) 948-1111
901 Creswell Lane
Opelousas, LA
Store Hours
Hometown Dealers
Store Type
Hometown Dealers
Hours
Mon:9-18
Tue:9-18
Wed:9-18
Thu:9-18
Fri:9-18
Sat:9-18
Sun:12-17
Store Features
Mon:9-18
Tue:9-18
Wed:9-18
Thu:9-18
Fri:9-18
Sat:9-18
Sun:12-17

Fastenal- Opelousas
337-942-2246
5583 I-49 S. Service Rd Opelousas, LA, 70570
Opelousas, LA
 
LOWE'S OF OPELOUSAS, LA
337 943-2041
1130 EAST LANDRY STREET OPELOUSAS, LA, 70570
Opelousas, LA
 
Vidrine's Ace Hardware
(337) 363-4876
130 E Main St
Ville Platte, LA
 
LOWE'S OF N. LAFAYETTE, LA.
337 291-2601
120 EAST GLORIA SWITCH RD LAFAYETTE, LA, 70507
Lafayette, LA
 
Lowe's
(337) 943-2041
1130 East Landry Street
Opelousas, LA
Hours
M-SA 7 am - 9 pm
SU 8 am - 8 pm

DIXIE TOOL & FAST/Opelousas
337-948-8233
530 WEST VINE STREET OPELOUSAS, LA, 70570
Opelousas, LA
 
Southern Pro Home Ctr
(337) 684-3044
741 S Main St, Between the Post Office and Rayne State Bank
Church Point, LA
 
Lowe's
(337) 291-2601
120 East Gloria Switch Road
Lafayette, LA
Hours
M-TH 6 am - 9 pm
FRI-SA 6 am - 10 pm
SU 8 am - 8 pm

Cannatellas True Value
(337) 623-4211
421 Landrum St
Melville, LA
 

Trophy Coffee Table

Trophy Coffee Table

Stunning Beauty Right from the Tree

by Dave Munkittrick

Big planks of wood with natural bark edges make my heart race. Most woodworkers share a desire to build something from a single, thick plank of wood. After 20 years of building custom cabinets and furniture, I finally got my chance.

The first step was finding that perfect slab of wood—not an easy task. Slicing a tree into planks, bark edge and all, is not a common sawmill practice. I started my hunt in the Yellow Pages under “Sawmills.” I found a number of people with portable mills, but without a log for them to saw, I was out of luck. I tried a few tree-trimming companies to see whether they had a tree trunk or two they needed to dispose of. Two strikes.

Finally, I turned to the Internet (Photo 1). I found the slab of my dreams: a huge (14- to 36-in.-wide x 12-ft.-long) slice of English Burly Wych Elm (pronounced “witch elm”) (see “Sources,” page 64). I knew immediately that this was the one. When the wood arrived at my door (Photo 2), I quickly realized that building with a single rough slab requires a completely different approach than working with individual boards.

Photo 1: I found the perfect plank for my coffee table on the Internet. It was a 12-ft.-long slab of Burly English Wych Elm. It was like no other piece of wood I’d ever seen. I couldn’t wait.

Photo 2: The day the wood arrived, I had to call on a couple of neighbor friends just to get the crate in the shop! 

On one hand, no decisions would be needed about grain pattern or color that individual boards require. With a single slab of wood, your only task is to present the natural beauty of the wood in the best way possible, despite all its inherent defects, such as loose bark pockets, rough edges, dirt, checks and cracks. On the other hand, just handling such an enormous yet delicate piece of wood presents some unique challenges. 

I had a lot of fun building this table and you will, too, if you decide to build one like it. Because every natural-edged board is unique, it’s difficult to give an exact formula on how to design or build a natural-edge table. Even if they come from the same tree, no two boards are alike. What follows is my experience as I built this table in front of the camera.

Arrival Day

After the wood was ordered, I couldn’t wait for it to arrive. With all my thoughts on possessing that piece of wood, I neglected to plan ahead and be ready for its arrival. I discovered the hard way that you can’t handle a large plank the way you can individual boards (Photo 2, above). 

When we got the wood in the shop, I didn’t let practical considerations slow me down. Totally intoxicated by what was inside the crate, I felt a burning desire to see the wood, now! We popped the bands and lifted off the protective cover. My heart sank at what I saw: an enormous slice of tree t...

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