A while back I shared a project describing an entry way bench seat, and mentioned that I had made a similarly patterned entry way table to complement it on the front stair landing… I needed the table to be relatively narrow so that it didn’t take up too much space on the landing, allowed the door to open, allowed people to get by easily, and yet leave a good spot to drop keys, hat, misc. when entering the house, or setting things on that I need to remember to take with me the next time I head out somewhere.,
I started construction on the table project before the bench and managed to finish the bench before the table. Just sort of how these projects go I guess.
Diving in, the project jumped of the starting line with some basic CAD models to get a feel for what I was going to build. The basic CAD model rapidly progressed into the 3D solids modeling / sculpting and then generation of tool paths…
The pattern was repeated for each of the levels of the table/shelves and then it was modified from there to accommodate the steel post pass through for each. I was originally going to design them differently and add an easter egg in each of them but talked myself out of it. If I do ever build a 2’nd one of these, I will most definitely do that.
A graphical view of one of the many toolpaths. This will be cut with an 1/8in 2-flute carbide upcut end-mill running 0.200in deep. The cut was set up it to take 0.050" passes and just let it blast through at higher speeds.
And then it was over to the AVIDcnc. I did take a tiny bit of time to knock off “most” of the frayed ends left by the up-cut, but it isn’t super critical, as these will be machined away in a later step. The important part is that any frayed edges don’t get pulled back down in during the next / epoxy step.
Here, I used some Smooth-Cast-ONYX 2-part epoxy. This stuff kicks pretty fast so one has to work fast. For all of the other pours in this project I used glacially slow Epoxy designed for deep pourts. This epoxy had aged a lot and you can see in the photo, below, that the part ‘B’ that is typically a light yellow color had turned significantly over the years. I really wanted to use this stuff up due to its age, so I just went with it and, luckily, it came out all right.
And then back to the AVIDcnc to cut the next set of tool-paths and pour the next round of epoxy. Mentioned above, this 2nd round of epoxy is slow cure. I needed the extended work time (slow cure) so I could work on such a large area and also have time to mix in the ivory colorant. I used a big syringe to “inject” the epoxy down into the bottom of these grooves and let it help push the air up and out. With the longer working time, I also did 3x degass runs in the vacuum pot to help minimize air bubbles. This worked great!
The slow cure is also much “thinner” and self levels as one would expect. The down side of all of this is that one is 3x days into work before it can be machined without making a bad gummy mess.
And then it was time for 3D surfacing. I did this in two passes, a roughing pass that leaves 0.100" stock behind with a much larger step-over. This is mainly done for the big “plunge” at all edges around the perhipery of the table-top. Best to get that material cleared out first, and then a finishing pass with a tighter step-over. I finished with a 1/4-in 2-fluted carbide ball end mill and a 0.015in step-over. This makes for a good compromize between the amount of time to run the tool path and the minimal amount left for sanding. The finishing pass cutts 0.050 into the top surface of the wood which removes any burs/strings left by the up-cut bit that cut the slots for the Epoxy. This then leaves 0.150in of epoxy down in the slot which is enough surface area in contact with the wood to prevent tearour during the finishing process.
After some light sanding I did a quick polyurethane application to seal the wood. (I should have done 2~3) This helps with air bubbles for any pin-holes or places where the edge glued boards may not be fully sealed.
Next up, I used a caulking gun and a tube of silicon to lay in some heavy beads of construction grade silicone to form a “moat” around the area where I am going to do the pour. I went slow and made sure the beads (stacked on top of each other) were nice and tall and let that set up and cure overnight. I also went in with a tongue depressor and ensured that they bottom bead was worked into the wood grain well, so that there was a good seal.
And then the main pour. Even with the Eurethane seal coat, I came back to pop bubbles every hour on the hour and got the last ones 11 hours after the inital pour. Shhh, don’t tell, but there is one last air bubble that I missed in one of the 3. Most people won’t even notice it, but I know it is there.
And then it was time to machine these parts out of the planks. This tool path runs 0.050" larger than the the wood itself, all the way around. When I get to the next step with the router, this will leave an Epoxy seal under the round-over that won’t go through the epoxy, into the wood.
I also knocked out a round over on the bottoms of these parts as well.
And here are the parts, looking great!
This project has a small amount of steel work in it as well. I grabbed the next set of G-Code, prepared weeks earlier at the beginning of the project, and headed over to the AVIDcnc on the water tank side of the machine.
In this cut I knocked out 3 pieces that come out of 10Ga. steel plate. As you can see in the first photo below, this plate has had parts cut out of it for all sorts of other projects.
As I’ve come to expect from the AVIDcnc, the plasma cutting process went perfectly & fast.
Next I threw the large center post up on the plasma cutter. I am using a fireball tool square to index this piece so I can flip the part over and easily have the cuts line up from one side to the other. The circles cut in this step (as well as the angles) could have been put in by hand, but the plasma cutter makes matching all of this back to the CAD model so very easy in a few places down the length of this part on both sides.
The angle iron to cut out the ear-tabs from was also mounted and cut in this same way. I’m using a welding clamp to attch the part to the fireball tools mega square and the ground clamp is attached direcly to the part. These parts need to have the matching hole patters to the ones put into the post at that odd angle, above.
I finish cut the vertical cut on the abrasive cut-off saw after this step.
I took some time with the burnisher to chew through the mill-scale and get rid of all of that oil impregnated mess. I also used the belt grinder to clean up the ear tabs a bit before they get to the welding stage
And on to a quick mockup held together vicariously with welding magnets, etc…
Back to working in wood for a bit… I mentioned above, I was building this table at the same time as a pair of matching bench seats. I ended up knocking out the “feet” at the same time from the same plank. These feet then are similarly sized / shaped so they will match sitting next to each other on the landing.
I like how the feet are designed to “peek” out from under the edges. I should have 3D sculped these to be a set of fat little toes.
I went ahead and hit the bottom sides of these boards with 3x coats of polyurethane, the above photo was snapped while one of the coats was drying and boy do I like that mixed wood grain.
And then switching back to some steel work. Below, setting up and welding the bottom parts of the frame and also some of the individual levels for the shelf / top supports.
I am a self taugh garage/‘hobby’ welder, so the image above with a start and stop in the middle has me smiling. I haven’t even hit it with the wire brush yet, when the photo was taken. Good enough for my garage!
For paint I went with a medium satin black. 3x coats combined with a light sanding in between. The first coat is showing below.
The Rivnuts used here are 5/16-18. I do like that this assembly can be taken apart / re-assembled and with 6x 5/16-18 bolts (3 each side for each level) I don’t have to worry if a neighbor decides to lean / sit on it.
and bolted down the shelf and table top brackets. I’m using 1/4"x1" Lag bolts and underneath them I welded in a 3/8in nut to give it the propper spacing because I couldn’t find shorter lag bolts and I didn’t want the end of them poking up into the bottom of the epoxiy filled recesses visible from the top. And then, … starting the assembly process. The first image, below was a test fit before I had hit the bottom with polyurethane.
It is hard to photograph these as the white of the walls reflects and drowns out the vivid natural colors in the image that one’s eye picks up naturally, when viewing in person.
I don’t know if anyone else will like my eclectic styling, but I like it.