Someone brought us two slabs of live edge wormy maple they wanted us to make into a bartop. They wanted us to keep the slabs of wood as thick as possible, the bark should be removed and the two slabs need to be joined on a 45 degree angle.
Since the slabs were about 25″ at their widest points, we needed to use our 25″ Woodmaster planner. The slabs had been sitting in the customer’s barn for a couple of years and had cupped. The planner was able to get them down to the initial thickness of about 1 5/8″
After planning the slabs, it was determined how we would orient the boards for the to parts of the bar and then they were debarked and cut to preliminary size/shape.
The holes and splits in the wood were then filled with West Systems epoxy. Tape was used on the bottom and sides to keep the epoxy from running out. We also used hot melt glue to keep the epoxy from spreading too far. Once the epoxy dried, the boards were sanded with an orbital sander to get level out the epoxy and remove the glue,
The boards were slid together and the 45 degree angles were sanded down to get as tight of a seam as possible. Because of the length of the angle to sand, we had to find something long enough to keep a steady pressure on the full length. Mark put a couple of 2x4s together and then wrapped an old piece of sand paper from a drum sander on it.
The boards were put together and the inside corner was cut down and the outside corner rounded. The edges were then hand sanded to blend together.
Because of the cupping in the slabs, the two boards were not meeting up and the boards were rocking a little. We decided to switch the Woodmaster over to a sander and sand the boards down to see if we could get a better seam. The boards were then hand sanded with an orbital sander, starting with 150 and going to 220 grit. This helped to bring out some of the flames in the wood. The slabs are currently about 1 1/2″ thick, which is the goal we had in mind.
We provided the customer with a sample of the wood finished in epoxy and one finished in semi-glass poly. We agreed on a high-gloss poly finish. In the meantime, we’ll put in the biscuits and hardware to hold the two slabs together. We’ll then be able to do a final sanding on the boards to get the heights of the seams the same.
In order to install the countertop pins to hold the two slabs together, Mark needed to make a template to drill out the wood t embed the pins.
Once several layers of high gloss poly were sprayed on, you could see quite a bit of orange peel in the finish. As the finish is polished out, starting with 800 grit sand paper through 4000 grit, you can see how the orange peel is disappearing and the reflection of the ceiling lights are clearing up.