Maple Trestle Table, Session 28 – Filling in the Voids

On the morning of Sunday, April 15th, Morton and I exchanged ideas about trestle tables, spurred on by a recent sketch of a table on which he was working.  That got me yearning to build a trestle table.

I documented my progress live on Twitter which was useful because each update had a time stamp so followers could see the rate at which I progressed.  Here is a list of the previous Sessions:

Session 1 – Flat Boards are Boring;
Session 2 – Playing with Slabs;
Session 3 – From Two Slabs to One Table Top;
Session 4 – Clamping Odd Shapes and Sketching on Wood;
Session 5 – Routing Pockets for Battens;
Session 6 – Making Battens and Installing Countertop Connectors;
Session 7 – Installing Battens and Flattening the Underside;
Session 8 – Make Your Tools Work for You and Flattening the Top;
Session 9 – Mortises the Slow Way (or Why I’m Buying a Domino XL);
Session 10 – Curvy Legs are Always Good;
Session 11 – Straight Lines on Wonky Surfaces;
Session 12 – Fitting the Mother of all Mortise & Tenon Joints;
Session 13 – Making Things Better, Worse, then Better;
Session 14 – Battens and Complicated Tenons, Again;
Session 15 – The Trestle Comes Together Session;
Session 16 – Angled Mortises and Tenons;
Session 17 – Two Feet for Two Legs;
Session 18 – Attachment Strips and Power Carving;
Session 19 – Refining the Sculpted Base;
Session 20 – A Little Sanding, then Lots More Sanding;
Session 21 – Preparing for a Big Glue-Up;
Session 22 – Fitting and Joining the Table Top;
Session 23 – The Bottom of the Top;
Session 24 – Profiling the Table’s Edge;
Session 25 – Completing the Bottom Edge;
Session 26 – Installing the Base; and
Session 27 – Flattening the Top and Completing the Edge.

(If you are not familiar with the format used on Twitter, every update, or “tweet” below starts with a username, being the author of that tweet.  Sometimes, you see two or more usernames in a tweet.  The second (and third, etc) usernames are preceded by a @ symbol and are people to whom the author is talking.  The other symbol you see is #, which serves as a category.  I try to remember to categorize all my tweets pertaining to this project under #flairww.)

FlairWoodworks I’m off to explore finish options for the Maple Trestle Table. Suggestions are welcome! #flairww -12:11 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Here’s the yield from my shopping trip today. I won’t be using all the finishing products. #flairww -4:24 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Does anybody have any experience with any of these products? #flairww -4:25 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks This is my first time using West Systems epoxy so I’ll start with a small batch to fill small voids in the tabletop. #flairww -4:45 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Three pumps each of epoxy resin and hardener was enough to fill most of the shallow voids. #flairww -5:25 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks This large void, which I reinforced with a dovetail key, will require multiple layers of epoxy. #flairww -5:28 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I forgot to buy paper cups for mixing epoxy so I’ll run out and get more. Then I’ll prepare some samples to test finishes. #flairww -5:29 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m back from the store.  The best containers were the paper soup bowls not for sale.  They let me take two.  flairww – 5:57 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The epoxy is thin so I need to seal the sides and bottom.  For irregular shapes, I’ve been using duct tape. flairww 6:03 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I also let the mixed epoxy sit in the mixing container for a while to thicken a little. #flairww -6:04 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Thanks to @TheWoodBug for tips on using West System epoxy! #flairww -6:04 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ll use these two offcuts from the table top to test finishes. #flairww -6:07 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The epoxy I mixed has been sitting for about 15 minutes and has thickened a little. I’m going to apply it now. #flairww -6:17 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Epoxy does not go far when it’s being used to fill large voids so I’m mixing more. #flairww -6:20 PM Jun 18th, 2012

DozersWorkshop @FlairWoodworks Stick with it! #flairww -6:25 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I expect the epoxy to reach the gel stage (semi-cured) in 90-120 minutes. #flairww -6:53 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks This is the first time that I have worked with West Systems epoxy. I’m using the 105 Resin and 206 Hardener. #flairww-6:53 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Dinner time! #flairww -6:55 PM Jun 18th, 2012

DozersWorkshop @FlairWoodworks so the difference between them is Epoxy 101? #flairww -7:32 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @DozersWorkshop They’re just product names. -7:38 PM Jun 18th, 2012

DozersWorkshop @FlairWoodworks sry, bad attempt at a learning/school joke since you are basically in an introductory for West Systems

Tumblewood @DozersWorkshop @FlairWoodworks I TOTALLY got that joke!!

DozersWorkshop @Tumblewood @flairwoodworks thanks for humoring me, Vic!

FlairWoodworks Ah! I get it now! RT @Tumblewood: @DozersWorkshop @FlairWoodworks I TOTALLY got that joke!!

Tumblewood @DozersWorkshop @FlairWoodworks But, I notice Jonathan is usually the only one that gets my very immature and basic humor.

FlairWoodworks I’m back in the shop listening to the banter of @Tumblewood and @DozersWorkshop. The epoxy hasn’t reached gel state but it’s close. #flairww -7:56 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks If I hadn’t swept the shop, I wouldn’t have to worry about epoxy dripping on the floor. Oh well. #flairww -8:06 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Here is one piece of maple for finishing samples. #flairww -8:08 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks If you work with slow-cure epoxy, be organized. I’m getting traces of it everywhere, including my keyboarddddddddddd. #flairww -8:11 PM Jun 18th, 2012

Tumblewood @FlairWoodworks walk away and let it cure. I knelt in it the last time. Perma patch on my jeans. -8:12 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m preparing the sample the same way as the actual table top. This is important for best results. #flairww -8:30 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks This very cool piece of wood has been sanded to 320-grit. Now for some finishing! #flairww -8:46 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ve used masking tape to divide the sample boards and letter stamps to indicate the finish to be used. The V stands for Varathane. #flairww -8:55 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks All I want to do is apply a little finish to the sample but first, it’s stirring, and lots of it. #flairww -9:01 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks This Oil-Modified, Water Based finish doesn’t look milky white like most water based finishes do. #flairww -9:09 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Here’s the sample piece with three finishes applied. They look glossy because they are still wet. #flairww -9:24 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks These are the three finishes I used. Can you guess which was used on each section of the sample board? #flairww -9:26 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The epoxy has reached the gel stage and is still tacky, so it’s time to apply more. #flairww -9:29 PM Jun 18th, 2012

Tumblewood @FlairWoodworks Hard to tell. Not a high res photo. #flairww -9:33 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @Tumblewood Yeah, I suppose so. The one on the right is definitely a water-based though – you can tell by the lack of ambering. #flairww -9:35 PM Jun 18th, 2012

Tumblewood @FlairWoodworks have you thought about using Waterlox? -9:54 PM Jun 18th, 2012

Warped_Boards @FlairWoodworks I like the sample closest to the camera. I feel it brings out the richness of the grain. -10:02 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Nope. I’ll have to see if it’s available locally. #flairww RT @Tumblewood: @FlairWoodworks have you thought about using Waterlox? -10:07 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Me too! #flairww RT @Warped_Boards: @FlairWoodworks I like the sample closest to the camera. I feel it brings out the richness of the grain. -10:08 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @Tumblewood Ha! The site of the nearest supplier of Waterlox is #flairww -10:16 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @Tumblewood They are about 7 hours away from me (driving). #flairww -10:17 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ve finished applying the second coat of epoxy. #flairww -10:20 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks My bench is a mess. #flairww-10:20 PM Jun 18th, 2012

luggermatt @FlairWoodworks YAY! Someone’s bench is worse than mine!#goodtoknow ;-) -10:22 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Um… thanks. #flairww RT @luggermatt: @FlairWoodworks YAY! Someone’s bench is worse than mine! #goodtoknow ;-) -10:22 PM Jun 18th, 2012

Warped_Boards @FlairWoodworks Ha! Is there a bench under there? -10:22 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ll let you know in half an hour. How’s that? #flairww RT @Warped_Boards: @FlairWoodworks Ha! Is there a bench under there? -10:22 PM Jun 18th, 2012

luggermatt @Warped_Boards @FlairWoodworks I was just glad to see it’s not all neat and tidy! ;-0 hehe -10:22 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Epoxy is seemingly everywhere. I think I’ll buy the fast-setting stuff next time. #flairww -10:31 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @Tumblewood It’s okay, Vic – you can open your eyes again. #flairww -11:03 PM Jun 18th, 2012

luggermatt @FlairWoodworks @Tumblewood You should see the pile just out of camera shot! ;-) -11:04 PM Jun 18th, 2012

Warped_Boards @FlairWoodworks it’s like it never happened- just a bad dream was all -11:06 PM Jun 18th, 2012

Gsharptools @FlairWoodworks Good morning . I hope you are not starting a competition !! #flairww -11:26 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @Gsharptools It was not my intent to start a competition, but you may share a picture of your messy bench if you like. #flairww -11:27 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I cleaned up my bench and lost my strop. #flairww-11:31 PM Jun 18th, 2012

Gsharptools @FlairWoodworks I feel embarrassed & shy now, but I do think yours must be right up front. It’s my complete workshop I’m ashamed of #flairww -11:32 PM Jun 18th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Mixing more epoxy…#flairww -12:08 AM Jun 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The voids will require one more layer of epoxy to fill them. I can’t wait to level the epoxy.#flairww -12:36 AM Jun 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I might come back down to the shop in a couple hours to apply the final coat of epoxy to this side. I think I’ll go make dinner. #flairww -12:41 AM Jun 19th, 2012

DozersWorkshop @FlairWoodworks @luggermatt don’t feel too bad, mine is still messier. #flairww -2:46 AM Jun 19th, 2012

DozersWorkshop @FlairWoodworks ran out of your two paperbowls? -2:49 AM Jun 19th, 2012

RichtheCarpenter Lol sticky fingers @FlairWoodworks -4:16 AM Jun

FlairWoodworks Yeah, they were for customers who buy hot soup. The cashier let me take two. #flairww RT @DozersWorkshop: ran out of your two paperbowls? -12:21 PM Jun 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @DozersWorkshop And the slow-cure epoxy was still tacky so I didn’t want to mix new stuff in the bowls. #flairww-12:22 PM Jun 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m mixing more epoxy. I start the timer when I begin mixing. #flairww -1:18 PM Jun 19th, 2012

DozersWorkshop @FlairWoodworks 11 hours and counting… tick………tock…….. #flairww -1:39 PM Jun 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ve applied the next layer of epoxy and begun scraping the dried areas flat. #flairww -1:45 PM Jun 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The epoxy isn’t fully cured and as a result isn’t scraping cleanly so I’ll stop here for the day. #flairww -1:47 PM Jun 19th, 2012

Next time:  more work with epoxy.  Yay!

14 thoughts on “Maple Trestle Table, Session 28 – Filling in the Voids

  1. Hey chris,
    I recently started using the general line of finishes and really like them. They are , however , quite clear and I usually oil or stain prior. I used to use the varathane alot, but in recent years I have found they don’t seem to level as well as they used to, hence the switch to general. I’ve never used the oil modified, but I imagine it would impart a nice amber tone. Not sure if that brand yellows over time. I’ve heard minwax products to be quite soft, at least the older formulas. I think whatever you do, you need to impart some color.. Not just a clear finish. And are you going to rub out the finish? A table like this begs to be touched.. Most wb finishes don’t cure fully for weeks, although some people rub it out sooner. Just my 2 cents.

    1. Oh. And I’ve read conflicting reviews on rubbing out satin.. Some say don’t, because the satin is caused by solids in tge material, and you will muddy it, others say do it. So I’m not sure haha.

      1. Mike,

        According to Bob Flexner’s Understanding Wood Finishing, the difference between a gloss and satin finish is the addition of particles which diffuse the light reflects to minimize the reflection. In theory, those particles should obscure the wood, but I’ve never found that to be the case. I’ve never compared them side-by-side.


    2. Hi Mike,

      I have also used the General line of water based finishes. They impart no warming tones, something that I do want for this table. If I do use them, I would use a coat of something else to add the warmth.

      The Minwax Oil-Modified Water Based Polyurethane is very similar in appearance to the Varathane product, but did not seem to flow as well. I will see if I can modify that by adding something.

      Water based finishes seem to get high praise for durability so I’m not worried about that. I think that any of these finishes shown in the first photo would be adequately durable.

      Yes, I will rub out the finish. I’ve rubbed out clear coats labelled as gloss, semi-gloss and satin and never noticed any difference in clarity.

      Thanks for the questions and ideas.


      1. Ya, I’ve rubbed out all 3 too.. I just didn’t want to be responsible for suggesting a possible disaster haha. What do you use for rubbing out? Not steel wool on wb I’m sure you are aware haha…

    3. Mike,

      I have some foam-backed abrasives for rubbing out. In the past, I’ve used steel wool for non-water based products (steel + water = rust) but it’s not great because it falls apart.


      1. I’m sure you will describe your finishing process in your blog. It’s kind of a love hate relationship.. I enjoy the quiet of finishing( late nights and Sundays possible haha) and love seeing the results, but it’s not my favorite part of the process. I am looking forwArd to seeing the results

    1. Hi Matt,

      I’ve never heard of applying epoxy with a squeegee. Is that something you’ve heard of or done? The West System epoxy is very thin and pours and self-levels just fine without the need for manipulation.


      1. Chris,

        Yes, I used west system to apply epoxy to fiberglass a ceder-strip canoe. It worked on the boat – right now I am trying to figure out the best approach for a table. In this case you didn’t use anything to apply the epoxy – other than pouring it on and letting it flatten? Thanks!


          1. Chris; I hope you don’t mind me asking one more question. When applying the epoxy did you do anything to ensure that the epoxy built up over the cracks – in order to ensure there would be excess to scrape off. I am wondering if I should use tape or something to make sure that the epoxy levels a tiny but above the table. Thanks!


            1. Matt,

              Ask all the questions you like!

              I simply poured enough epoxy to have it proud of the surface (surface tension helps here). Other woodworkers have suggested filling voids before final flattening so you can bring the wood down to the epoxy, rather than the other way around.


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