A couple of slices off the top

Made another addition to the wood stash today. You never know what you’ll find in the classified, but an ad for slabs always catches my attention. Especially when it talks about curly … well … anything! In this case, the pics showed a gorgeous 7 foot slab of 3 inch thick curly ash, and a 4-5 foot slab of curly maple. After finally making contact with the seller, I made the hour drive to the middle of nowhere. In a side room of the garage were stickered stacks of ash, maple, walnut and oak slabs (and this isn’t really his business.)
I had my eye on the maple slabs, with a new coffee table in mind.
These maple slabs had come from a tree that had been struck by lightning, so were a bit irregular, which is just fine by me. I selected two of the best ( to my eye), and we muscled them into the back of the car. The first one will be the new coffee table, with a base inspired by an unsigned Arts & Craft table in the Grove Park Inn, although it will be a modern transformation of the original. (I had been working on a couple of ideas when I happened upon this picture only yesterday, like it was fate.)

The second slab I thought I might save for another coffee table when the need arose, or possibly cut it in two to make matching end tables; but upon realizing that it was almost 4 inches thick, another plan has started to hatch. After seeing Chris Schwarz’s cherry slab Roubo bench at the WIA conference, and after rereading the article about it’s build, where he talks about having a bench that is suitable to be a piece of furniture for the house, I thought about trying to build something similar that I could use inside MY house. Something not too big that would let me get some hand work done during the cold winter months when the shop gets uninhabitable. This second slab fits the bill to a tee!

It even has a narrower projection on one end that is perfect for luthiery, allowing clamping on both sides of an instrument at the same time. I don’t know if I will go full on Roubo, but hopefully I can get something together before winter hits. Of course, I will need to find some suitable beams for the legs (or glue up a thick sandwich) and do the joinery; but that will have to wait until I finish a couple of other projects first. (I’m almost finished with the first project, another jewelry box.)

Now if only I can score a winch to help me move these slabs around!

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