Spiral Table Pics & Questions
Part 3

By Jeff Junak
March 30, 2004

Here is the latest update and the first of probably several requests for guidance.

First the progress pics.   I was busy glueing up the base, and was about to glue the top on when I realized that I hadn't cut the top and bottom to size yet.   I was going to cut the circles for the top and bottom using my bandsaw, but I had already glued the bottom in place.   I ended up tracing a curve and cutting to the curve with a jigsaw.   I was able to use a spindle sander to get down to the line on the top, but I can't do that on the bottom.   Once I had the top rough-trimmed to size, I glued it in place and plugged the hole where the steel rod goes through.

Now for the request for ideas or guidance:  As you can see in the following pic, I didn't do a good job of placing biscuits when creating the top, since I have the edges of 5 biscuits showing around the perimeter of the top once it was trimmed.

The question is how to compensate for this.   I'm thinking of cutting a groove around the edge and inlaying a contrast wood (probably maple).   The problem is that I'm not sure how to cut a groove in a rounded piece, nor do I know how to fit an inlay to it.   I was thinking I could cut the groove in a series of straight lines (think of something like an octogon), and then miter some pieces of maple to fit the straight lines.   The outer edges of the maple would then be trimmed to make them match the walnut.   Would this work?  Any other ideas?   I'm scratching my head trying to figure out how to overcome this challenge.

carmaro, 03-30-2004 07:33 PM
You should be able to cut a groove with a slot cutter bit in a router.

The most difficult part of this is making sure you keep the router flat on the table surface. (graphic swiped from the Rockler site)

Toms Woodworking, 03-30-2004 08:26 PM
Hey Jeff,
You could router vertical notches into each joint and fill with contasting or matching wood.  Or glue up a band around the entire edge.

Mango, 03-30-2004 08:37 PM
So far so good, my thought on the inlay.   Make it a bowtie or some other decorative "patch" you only have 4 biscuits showing correct?

Is not the original table carved and curved to look as if it was bent as one solid piece from the ground up?

If you laminate along the full side of the top.   That carved "flow" will end abruptly.

That was the reason you took on this project was to that effect yes?

I don't think the bowties will distract as nearly as much as the full inlay your thinking of.   I know this could have been said simpler I am Mango not Norman Vincent Peale.   I like candy!  oh that's my alter ego.

Habu, 03-30-2004 08:45 PM
You might consider just using dowels sanded flush and made from contrasting lighter or (much) darker wood.  This would be easy and probably fits the style.

woodshopdemos, 03-30-2004 09:17 PM
Are the biscuits a mistake or an original design concept.   As light color, they stand out more than I would want.   But get a small artist's brush and paint them an ebony dye and people will be copying you.
John Lucas

wilyum, 03-31-2004 12:09 AM
jeff, I am definitely with Mango on this one....  a bow tie shaped insert at the joints would be perfect....  that's the first thing I thought of as I read your post.   I would not use a contrasting wood.   Making them of the same wood they would still be quite visable but subtle, adding to the visual impact of the design, not drawing your attention from it.

Jeffj, 03-31-2004 09:18 AM
Hey all,
Thanks for all the suggestions.   I hadn't thought of the slot cutter to make the groove.   After reading all of the above, I'm leaning towards the bowtie concept.   The top is made up of 2 pieces half-lapped into a cross, with 4 pie-shaped pieces between legs of the cross.   2 of the sections between the cross have only 2 pie shaped pieces to account for the opening of the (soon to be) spiral.   I count 14 bowties as a result.   Any suggestions on how to cut the bowties?   It seems to me that I'm going to have to mark them out with a template of some sort and then chisel them out.   I'm also thinking of using walnut for the bowties to keep them subtle, or maybe staining some walnut black for some contrast.   I've pretty much rejected the idea of a lighter wood for contrast.

The other idea that I think would be really cool, but way beyond what I could do, would be to groove the entire top and have the groove flow down the spiral to the bottom.   I don't want to take on trying to get a visually pleasing groove down the spirals, however.

I should be able to get back to the table tomorrow and Friday to start the actual shaping.   I'll post some progress pictures as I go along.

Thanks again for all the suggestions.  I really appreciate the help.

Mango, 03-31-2004 10:24 AM
You should try John's idea first, that is a brown/black dye before cutting into the wood see if that simple fix will work, dye, lightly sand and finish that small test portion like you plan to finish the table.   I bet that will be a better solution.   Glad you abandoned the full contrasting band.

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