I wanted a decent patio table. I know how to work wood. There are plenty of plans for projects like this online. What could possibly go wrong…?
Well, in short: a lot. This project is truly a testament to the old adage that there are few truly fatal mistakes in woodworking. No, I won’t tell you where the issues are; you can probably find them in person if you care to look closely.
It’s made from kwila. This is commonly used for decking here in NZ. However, as timbers go it exudes some very staining run-off (tannins) if you get it wet, so you have to be careful what you do with it. In my case, I treated it with a chemical wash that draws out the surface tannins, then a decking product that effectively restores some of its lovely rich colour.
Now, if anybody asks me if I can make one for them too, my honest answer will be that it would be quicker and cheaper for them to go down to Mitre 10. Seriously. My project cost about $700 on timber alone. By the time you factor in several days' work, consumables and wear on my tools – and that you can get a very similar (albeit mass-produced) table for $1000-1500 – who’d ever buy artisan woodwork? Nobody, unless they wanted a unique piece or wanted the journey of making it themselves.