The River Table

The River Table was a project that took so much longer than expected. Thank you so much to everyone for their patience in waiting for this one to come out, it's been a very long 4 months! Also, a massive thank you to Sara for helping me complete this project after I accidentally killed my previous assistant, Rob.

In this blog, you'll find images of the finished piece, an extended cut of the video where I talk more about the project, and various other things I believe might be of interest to you.

What is it Made From?​

The table is made from Pippy Oak sourced from Surrey Timbers just outside Guildford. Originally I was hoping to pickup Mappa Burr, however due to it being out of stock, I waited an extra week for this Oak to dry in the kiln intead.

As for the underframe, this is also made with Oak that was sourced from Tyler Hardwoods just outside of Hungerford. The Epoxy I used was Glasscast 10/50 which is specifically formulated for deep pours. However as you saw from the video, turns out you also need to pay attention to the ambient temperature while pouring.

How Long Did it Take?

I purchased the timber for this project on the 24th of June and didn't officially complete it until early October. 

While there are many reasons to blame for it taking this long such as tying up loose ends at Rycotewood and trying to enjoy the summer that was taken from us last year. 

Primarily, the reason this project dragged so much was because I didn't put enough planning and research into it.

Don't get me wrong, I had the whole thing drawn out on AutoCAD and SketchUp (apart from the bolts) and had a full production plan ready to go. It was the fine details such as routing boards flat, or pouring epoxy that evaded me this time around. Much of this I can put down to lack of experience, but it was mostly a shortfall of mine.

Was it Difficult to Make?

This project should have been very easy. But as stated before, my lack of planning is what let me down this time. 

Prior to this, the most challenging projects I had made were Bertha, which involved a ton of machining and routing skills, and the Bass Guitar which required a lot of routing and hand tool skills.

The only thing this project required was patience. Patience in routing the boards flat to ensure they didn't cup. Patience when pouring epoxy. Patience when tending to mistakes instead of turning a blind eye to them. Patience when manourvring boards instead of manhandling and damaging them.

Other than that, all the joinery (with the exception of the braces) were cut by machine and were very basic operations. It should have been very easy!

How Much Did it Cost?

The project cost me at least £2500. This accounts for all the materials used, the epoxy, the consumables, and the external hard drive I had to purchase to store the 2.2TB of files I created. It wasn't the smartest business move on my part, but I gained a hell of a lot of experience from doing it. The main experience being to never do it again.

Speaking of costs, if you'd like to support me in recouping some of the losses I made in this bad business decision of mine, please consider grabbing some merchandise below! It really helps me out and you get some awesome new clothing out of it too!

What Lessons were Learnt?

Ok, maybe there was more to be learnt than to avoid doing it again. Every project has its takeaways, but there was a real abundance in this one. In hindsight, it seems utterly crazy that I was prepared to turn a blind eye to the cupped boards and attempt to close the mitres with pure force. But in the moment, it seemed like a perfectly logical decision. Because… well, it was working perfectly… until it wasn't.

Ultimately, my flaws were in the lack of planning and testing, and also with rushing. Both of these fed eachother as the lack of planning would cause a problem, which would then make me try to avoid dealing with it if I didn't have to, which would then cause more problems that weren't forseen in my production plan. Which again, you could call a lack of planning and/or experience.

Don't get me wrong, lack of planning and rushing has bit me in the arse multiple times in the past. But the high stakes in this project made the lessons learnt much more intense than what they would have otherwise been

The finished piece! Do I plan on replacing the benches? Yes. Will I ever get round to it... probably not.

The Extended Cut

Seeing as I had to cut out so much footage to fit 2.2TB into a single 20 minute video, I decided to do an extended cut where I talked more about the project and some of the specific details that were missed in the main video.

At the end of the video, you'll also see the various tests it took to get the table working to a… passable standard.

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