Interior Finishes

A harvest table in time for Thanksgiving

By November 27, 2014 One Comment

A few months ago, we were asked to build a 10-foot long harvest table for a family in Rochester, who had just settled in their new home. Other than specific dimensions and a request for a slightly rustic, yet refined and easy-to-clean surface, we were left with a lot of room for our own creativity.

Months went by, and we still couldn’t find some decent material to use. Then in late October, we came across some beautifully unique Ambrosia maple. Ambrosia maple is soft maple that has been infested with the Ambrosia beetle. The beetles bore into the tree, and bring a fungus with them that discolors the wood around their bore hole, giving it an incredibly unique decorative pattern that also gives the wood a more rustic feel. We were able to pull together just enough boards that were 10-feet long and true enough to accommodate this table!

As with every project we design and build ourselves, the final product never ends up looking like the original design on paper. We always had the idea of angled legs with authentic mortise and tenon joints. However, through the building process, we altered the design to incorporate some metal components that actually served a purpose (many of the harvest tables out there have metal components, merely for looks). The two pieces of steel rod we placed at an angle actually pull the table legs towards the center, and force the bottom support to place pressure upwards on the center support by putting the table in “tension”. This system allowed us to have a very strong 10-foot long table without an unnecessary over-laminated top that would be very heavy. It also allows the table to completely come apart for easy transport and storage; unnecessary though a nice addition.

The entire table was coated with Rubio Monocoat pure hard-wax oil (an all-natural flax seed coating produced in Belgium). It’s VOC free, completely safe, and offers an extremely robust and impermeable coating – it’s the same coating we put on our hardwood floors and we just love it! It really gave the table a warm feel, without sacrificing the beautiful features of the wood.

We are so happy with the design that we have decided to make 2 more tables this coming month – one is very wormy like the one featured in this post, while the other is more clear. If interested, please contact us for prices… it all depends on the type of material used as well as the length and design of the table.


The four boards we selected for the table top. We skip-planed them to leave some of the saw marks for a rustic look.


The table top glued and clamped


Removal of excess glue


Blend sanding the top and sides


Close-up of the beautiful grain


First mortise joint on one of the legs, done with a plunge router


Jeff machining the tenon joints


Cross piece for the legs, with tenons


Finishing the tenon joint with a chisel to get that “perfect fit”


What a beautiful piece of wood!


Mortise and tenon joint that connects the bottom support piece to two of the legs. The oak dowel allows the table to come apart for easy transport and storage.


The finished table in the shop, without the metal


When tightened, the steel rods seat the table legs and put the table in “tension” providing support to the center of top


After coating with Rubio Monocoat pure oil (an all natural coating made from flax seed), the table looks beautiful in it’s new home


The pure oil adds a little amber color, without compromising the beautiful and unique features of the Ambrosia Maple.



Jeff & Kalie Brady

Author Jeff & Kalie Brady

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Join the discussion One Comment

  • rita rivera says:

    just wanted to let you know what an amazing job you did on this table. I’ve been looking at several homes you’ve made and I really have to say Job well done. I love the materials and the fact that your energy savings materials are so well done.

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