Carved Tree Trunk Base for Slab Table – How I Built It


This video shows how I constructed the “Tree Trunk” base for my slab table. I also have a very detailed article about how I did this on my blog:

I wanted the slab coffee table to have a sculpted and carved base that looked kind of like a tree trunk. I also decided it would look more interesting if the base looked like a tree trunk that had split in half, so I made the base in two pieces.

Since the slab had an open crack on one side I positioned the split in the base under the crack in the top to add continuity.

I used stave (coopered) construction for the two pieces of the base.

I like working with templates, but usually I can get by without them. This was one of those projects where a template was not just “nice to have”, but absolutely necessary! There is no way I could have kept track of everything without some kind of a road map.

There are six critical pieces of information on the template:
The first thing I did was to trace the outline of the top on to the plywood. That is the outside line on my template.
I also located the crack in the slab on to my template.
I then drew two straight lines to show where there would be an opening between the two halves of the base.
Next, I drew a line showing the outline of the bottom of the base pieces.
It was also important to know the outline of the top of the base pieces where the slab would rest on the base. I used this information to draw the templates for the stave pieces.
It was easy to determine how many pieces (staves) were needed once the circumference of the base was drawn out.
The plywood template represented the plan view of the base, but I also needed templates for the staves that would make up the sides of the base. I used regular copy paper for these.

I wanted the slab coffee table to have a sculpted and carved base that looked kind of like a tree trunk. I also decided it would look more interesting if the base looked like a tree trunk that had split in half, so I made the base in two pieces. Since the slab had an open crack on one side I positioned the split in the base under the crack in the top to add continuity.

I used stave (coopered) construction for the two pieces of the base.

The plywood template was invaluable when it came to assembling the pieces. I used it both to determine what angle to cut the individual pieces and exactly where to place them.
Complete article is on my blog page:

I also have a complete blog post on the router jig that I used to flatten the slab and the base of the table:

The next video and blog article will show how I sculpted and textured the base pieces. The last thing I will do to the base is to add a metallic finish, and I have a pretty good story about that!

Flatten Slab with a Router:
Peter Brown Interview:
Jack Bench Shop Tour:

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