Live Edge Spalted Maple Table.

John Biermacher
by John Biermacher
4 Materials
4 Weeks

Earlier this summer we sold our house and moved into an apartment in downtown Kalamazoo. We sold most of our existing furniture, including our dining room table, and six chairs. We decided to make a table to fit the new space.

The base is made from 1” diameter black iron pipe and utilizes standard fittings, flanges, pipe/nipple lengths, and casters . It makes the table height (36”) hence the stools are interchangeable with the table and our island.

It was spray painted with Rustoleum’s black primer and high temperature paint. The heat protection isn’t necessary but I like the uniform finish the high temp paint provides. A final coat of satin spray polyurethane provided the gloss we desired.

The base.

The top is spalted maple. Spalting is caused by a fungus that invades certain species of wood and adds significant character to the grain. Left too long to spalt, logs will decay. 

My wife chose two eight foot lengths of eight quarter, each about 16 inches wide from RSL Hardwoods, a local speciality lumber supplier.  Total for the slabs approached $400. 

Rough cut slabs

If you look at some of my previously posted projects, I have made and repurposed a number of tabletops. Since we were deeply immersed in a major downsizing and relocation, we opted to have the slabs book matched, jointed, and planed, by Woodsmiths, Inc., a local custom millwork/cabinet shop. The cost was about $350 and worth every cent, considering they hit every target (6ft long, 28-30 inches  wide, and planed to 1.5 inches thick)

There is a company in Missouri (Elmwood Reclaimed Lumber) that sells awesome tabletops

Tabletop after millwork.

The end checks, knots, and a few rough areas were filled (twice) with two-part epoxy that was tinted black. After hardening the epoxy was sanded, starting with a belt sander (80 grit) and then an orbital sander, 100 and 120 grit. 

Filled with epoxy.

The top was sealed with amber shellac and stained with dark walnut stain. After it dried, it was lightly sanded (150 grit) then re-stained with golden oak. 

Multiple coats of oil based satin polyurethane gave us the protection and gloss desired. 

Sanded, sealed, and stained.

The table was finished about a month after we moved into the apartment, but we had to wait several more weeks for the stools to arrive. The casters allow us to easily use it in different  configurations, seating 4 or 6.

Finished table with stools.
Finished table.

The whole project, especially when you include the stools, was quite pricey. But it was what we envisioned, wanted, and likely the last dining set we will own. 

Thank you for your interest.

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  3 questions
  • Sally Sally on Oct 08, 2020

    Love the table!!! But love the chairs also--where did you get them?

  • Cathryn Pratt Cathryn Pratt on Oct 15, 2020

    Do you have a shopping lists for the plumbing pieces required for the base? We would love to make a similar table in Brockville, Ontario, Canada. Thanks so much, Cathy.

  • Cathryn Pratt Cathryn Pratt on Oct 16, 2020

    John, Thank you so much for your quick response. We plan on building a table, counter depth of ~25", counter height of ~35" and width of 72" I hope you are able to easily provide a list of the plumbing pieces required. Thank you again, take care and stay safe. Cathy from Brockville, ON, Canada

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2 of 17 comments
  • Leeanne Leeanne on Dec 18, 2021

    Absolutely stunning!!!!!

    your new Irish friend

  • John Biermacher John Biermacher on Dec 19, 2021

    Thank you.

    My wife and I have never traveled internationally unless you count crossing the Mexican and Canadian borders. This Covid thing has put a crimp on all travel. We have friends who have traveled to Ireland and they all (and I mean 100% of them) loved the experience.- the country and the people.

    Looking forward to developing our friendship.