I’m not sure how I liked working with the Hard Maple on this project. Even with careful reading of the grain of each board, the wood was very prone to tear-out with the planer and jointer. This was with wood of only relatively moderate figure. Because of this, the stock required a lot of work with my smoothing plane and a card scraper in order to smooth the areas that showed torn out grain. I usually smooth the surfaces of project parts to eliminate mill marks but this wood required more that that.
Of course, I did all of this smoothing work as I went along creating the various parts for the table so all that was left after assembly was sanding. I always hand sand my projects using a cork-faced sanding block and this was no exception. The wood was generally smooth from the planning and scraping. So, all that was necessary was a bit of blending of the planed and scraped areas – I did this with 180-grit paper.
The finish on the table is a simple one. I did not want to add too much color to the Maple but, I did want to warm it up a bit. I made a test board surfaced with the same processes as the table and tried applying Boiled Linseed Oil, blonde Shellac, and General Finishes Arm-R-Seal in various combinations. In the end, I chose straight Arm-R-Seal. For the first coat, I scrubbed it into the surface with 400 wet/dry paper. After that coat dried over night, I scuff sanded the finish with the same grit paper, wiped the sanding dust with Naptha coated cloth and applied second a third coats of the finish. After letting the finish cure for a week, I applied paste wax with 0000 steel wool and buffed the surface.
In the pictures, you can see the finished result. Sorry for the quality of the pictures, they were taken in a hurry just before the table was packed up and sent off to its new home in South Carolina with my in laws.
In the end, I think that the arched aprons and top, the inlay and the splayed legs on this table helped to modernize the basic shaker-inspired design. After it arrived in its new home I received a report that it looked great and that the Maple/Cherry combination worked perfectly with the dark wood floors of the house. I’m hoping for a picture of it in place to see for myself.