A few years ago, my sister inlaw gifted me a small slab of redwood. I had it sitting on the backburner until the right project came along to show off its figure. Well, this was it! We wanted another side table in our living room, so I turned it into a table top.

The slab wasn’t even remotely flat as it was, and flattening it turned out to be quite difficult. First off, the wood was quite hard (which I wasn’t expecting for redwood given its hardness relative to walnut). Between that and the irregular grain, it was very difficult to hand plane without getting tearout. I spent some time sanding it as well, but progress moved very slowly.

After a while I was able to get it flat, but also needed to do a few passes around the live edges. In some places there was still bark remnants, and in a few place it looked slightly charred. Beyond the appearances, there were many very sharp fibers sticking out that had to be dulled down before it could see use as a knee-height table top.

But once that was done, I applied a few coats of water based polyurethane on both the top and bottom.

Then can the legs/base. At first I tried using hairpin legs, but the table was so top heavy and unstable that within 5 minutes the cat knocked it over and left a dent in our floor. That won’t do.

Walking around some shops, I came across a hand-made furniture store. A number of the pieces had heavy iron casters laid down sideways as a base. I thought that was a fantastic idea and asked about buying just a caster. They sold me one, and off I went to make the leg column.

I made an octagonal column, with a tenon on the end I could wedge into the hole in the center of the caster.

This was remarkably stable. The little wiggle left comes from the flex in the red oak I used for the column. I could fix it by using a bigger or harder piece of wood, but I think this is fine for now. Everything is just screwed/wedged together, so it should be easy to replace if it really bothers me.