DIY Wood Slab Table

Remember, Sharing is Caring.  Wood is such a beautiful thing.  I do prefer wood in nature, untouched and uncut.  But even cut wood is one of my favorite mediums to decorate with.

My friend had given me this cut slab of a beautiful piece of wood.  I knew right away I wanted to turn it into a side table either for the bedroom or living room.  If you are fortunate to come across a piece of wood like this, this is how you can refinish it to look like the magazines!

Since I wrote this blog post, tragedy has struck.  We lost this table along with everything when our house burnt down.  Take a look here for that full story.  I opted to still post this because it’s beautiful.  This was a favorite piece of mine for a long time and I didn’t want to hide it from everyone.

Here is the slab before I have done anything with it

Table 1

I love how much of the bark is showing

 Table 2

What you’ll need:

  • 40 Grit sand paper
  • Slab of wood
  • Palm sander
  • Hand Planer
  • Stool Legs (I picked up a stool from Ikea for $7.99)
  • Spray Clear Coat x3 ($5.49 from Fraser Valley Ace Hardware)


Step 1: Sand, Plane and Sand again

The rivets from the chain saw were quite deep and rough in most spots, I found it was easier to start with sanding.  I sanded as much down as I possibly could using 40 grit sand paper, this was a long process.  After a lot of the grooves were semi smooth, I used my wood planer to try and smooth out even more. And then I went back to sanding.

Table 4

*  *  *

   I decided that I liked the look of some of the chainsaw marks in the wood.  I could have sanded and planed everything completely smooth but I actually fell in love the with significance of the chain saw marks…  The raw beauty of nature charred by the destruction of man kind and still being something magnificent!

Table 5

   Depending on how rough the wood is, you can always use lighter grits of sandpaper to smooth out the wood more.  I knew the clear coats would do this enough for what I was trying to achieve.

*  *  *

Step 2: Wash

   I had this slab in my carport for some time before I got around to finishing it.  There were a few spider webs and a lot of dust on it.  I just used the Jet setting on the hose and used a deck scrub brush to remove all of the debris.  This is also a very important step to remove any of the bark that will fall off easily.

Table 6

You can see how the wet wood really enhances the colours and textures of the grain.

*  *  *

Step 3: Attach Legs

   I tried to find a cheap stool on craigslist that I could re use the legs for, but nothing I found was the right height or the right style for what I was trying to achieve.  So I ended up finding a stool at Ikea for $7.99 with the style and height I needed.

   I did have to find longer screws in order for these legs to work properly.

Table 7

*  *  *

Step 4: Allow to dry.

   I let the slab with legs attached sit in the sun for an entire two days before I put the clear coat on.  After all the time I put in to sand the slab smooth, I didn’t want the clear coat to fail because of a little moisture.

Table 9

*  *  *

Step 4: Clear Coat

   There are a couple different ways to protect the wood.  One is a two component clear resin that you pour over top of the wood.  This is a product that puts on up to 50 coats at once!  I decided not to go with this product strictly due to how much I would need for the project to make the bark look the best.

   The option that I went with was spray clear coat.  This was a process that I could get one in a timely fashion and was the most effective in the space I have to work with.

Table 10

If you opt to spray the piece of wood, be prepared to do multiple coats!  The wood is going to soak in the clear coat at different degrees depending on how rough it is. Once you have applied the first coat and it has dried, you will notice that it isn’t even and have to do more coats.

You could choose to use a two component resin and pour it over top of the wood.  This applies 50 coats in one and is a lot more durable.  Just make sure that you have a torch to torch out all of the air bubbles.

*  *  *

So unfortunately since I started this post, we lost this table along with everything in our house fire.  Take a look here to find out what happened in the fire. I also lost a lot of my old pictures, including the pictures of this project complete.  It was a well used and well loved table, it was in our bedroom, in our living room and eventually put into the Man Cave and everyone loved it.  I would get so many comments about it.   When we are in our new house, I will try to recreate this piece for sure!

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