The eucalyptus live edge table with breadboard ends and a steel base. Before I get into the details of the project itself, I’ll give a quick back story about how this project came about.
Skip the story and go straight for the details.
A few years ago, July 20th of 2015 to be exact, I was helping a friend in my neighborhood tile their kitchen when I had to run home to get some tools. On my way, I drove past some neighbors cutting down a large red gum eucalyptus. I immediately pulled over and told them to cut no further and that I would remove the large base of the tree from their property with a few days. I called another neighbor that owned a tow truck company and talked him into loading it onto his flatbed and relocating it to my back yard.
My wife thought I was nuts bringing a giant log home because I didn’t have the equipment necessary to mill it let alone even cut it in half. What I did have though was a friend that I could talk into buying a chainsaw large enough to use as a mill as long as I purchased the milling attachment. A few months later I got a Panther Mill II and my friend purchased a Stihl MS-880 with a 59″ bar. We practiced on a couple smaller logs and got to work milling this massive, very dense red gum eucalyptus which was stickered and set in the back of my property to air dry.
The stack of eucalyptus was nearly forgotten as air drying takes a decent amount of time and after a couple of years I built up quite the stash of wood using my friends chainsaw. One day I let him know that I felt bad using his chainsaw all of the time which he never actually had possession of and that I wanted to square up. I wanted to purchase the chainsaw and additional chainsaw related equipment he paid for and I wanted to get even on whatever wood he thought was his since he helped mill some. He came back a few weeks later and said that he wanted a table in return and whatever wood went into it was his and he would pay for additional expenses or material.
So… After drying in the Arizona heat for nearly two full years, the entire stack of eucalyptus got pulled out of my back yard, processed and taken to a business to get planned as I don’t have a planer that could touch the capacity needed. After the complete build was done and delivered, materials and expenses paid for, I pretty much built this table for an expensive chainsaw that I’ve always had anyway and a couple of wine barrels to cover additional labor that went above and beyond the very expensive chainsaw.
Now for the details:
Dimensions & Finish
The finished used on the top was General Finishes ARM-R-Seal. I started with three coats of gloss to build up a finish and ended with two coats of satin to get the sheen I wanted. The reason I started with gloss is because it has more solids in it which helps provide a faster build up.
The finish on the base was a matte black textured powder coating. I had them sand-blast, prime and powder coat because the owner wanted this thing to last for generations.
The dimensions of the table top is 4-feet by 11-feet and is 1.5-inches thick. The base is composed of 4-inch square tubing and 2×4-inch rectangular tubing along with some 1/2″ bar stock for the rounded bits and 2″ bar stock for the caps on the center supports.
The base alone weighed about 280 lbs and the top is easily equal to that and probably a little more. I’m guessing this whole thing weighs in at over 600 lbs and maybe up to 700. Either way, it’s not going anywhere without at least a few of your good friends.
At least the main ones people ask about.
Stihl MS 880 R Chainsaw
Panther Mill 2 – Alaskan Chainsaw Mill
Festool TS 75 Tracksaw
Festool DF 700 Domino
Lie-Nielsen No. 7 Jointer Plane
Angle Grinder Wood Grinding Attachment (Holey Galahad)
WoodRiver #80 Cabinet Scraper
Miller Millermatic 211 MIG Welder
I’m not going to go into every detail but will list the major ones and will list the total. If you have questions about a specific detail, ask and I’ll add it to the list.
Wood (Red Gum Eucalyptus) – 103 board feet @ $6 per bdft = $618 (This was really free since I milled and dried it but this would have been the cost.)
Steel – 3/16″ thick steel with 4×4″, 2×4″ tubes and 1/2″ and 2″ bar stock = $482
Plenty of other small things like epoxy, threaded inserts, welding supplies, shop supplies, nuts, bolts, finish, etc…
Milling Services – $92
Powder Coating – $420
Total Expenses = $1,873.00
The total man hours that went into this project not including milling the wood was 106 hours and 10 minutes. I tried to include every aspect of this project down to pulling the material from my yard and even transporting or waiting at will call to pick up metal. (The format of time is HH:MM.)
|01: Pulling Slabs from Yard||1:30|
|02: Processing Slabs||12:00|
|03: Transport Material to/from Timber||2:00|
|04: 3D Design & Planning||1:30|
|05: Joining and Primary Glue Up||9:40|
|06: Epoxy Fill||25:13|
|07: Breadboard Ends||7:12|
|08: Order & Pickup Metal||1:30|
|09: Legs – Cutting, Welding||24:43|
|10: Sanding and Finishing||14:52|
|11: Delivery and Assembly||4:30|
Obviously this project took a long time to complete and about 17:33 of these hours were actually put in by my friend, the new owner of this table. You’ll also notice that the thing that took the longest was filling and scraping the epoxy. One thing about red gum eucalyptus is unless you dry it with a kiln while doing a steam treatment you will get lots of checking and cracking which will need to be filled. Most other material wouldn’t have cracking to this extent and therefore wouldn’t take over a full day to address.
What to Sell For?
In the end if I wanted to make and sell this table I would have to charge $5,000 or more to cover my time at $30 per hour. If I wanted to make more than that I would either have to do it faster or charge more. Also, in the future I won’t be using steel nearly as thick which will cut both my material cost and powder coating cost as they charge by the oven time and thicker material takes longer to heat up.