Elm and Copper Powder Inlay Coffee Table

This page covers a very time consuming project that I foolishly took on some years ago now - to carve a table for my brother and his then fiancee as a wedding present! I used a large block of semi-green elm and, when it started to crack like crazy after I left it in my hallway to dry out, I decided to turn the cracks into features using copper powder and epoxy as a filler. This was my first attempt at using this technique, I have since learned a lot on the subject - see my page on how to use metal powders as inlays for more info. I was going for an organic "tree like" form, it didn't exactly come out like I had intended but hey, it still looks good. This was one of my earlier projects, and I am leaving the page up for legacy sake.

Scroll to the bottom of page for end product........

Original lump of wood: 65-70Kg (143-154lb) of semi-green elm..

Chainsaw time!! Fun..
We did some plunge cuts down the middle, but stopped when the chainsaw developed a terrifying habit of catching and leaping out the wood.... cheap chainsaw and we didnt really know what we were doing. These days I shudder inwardly at how careless we were.

Wide head circular cutting attachment for drill, used to bore into the wood. Used along side chisels to open up the inside - very slow process... note the lack of safety goggle. Dumb.

Lots and lots of chiseling...

Concertina cuts around the bottom were later removed...

And then I discovered the below..The scariest but funnest tool in my arsenal.. Circular chainsaw blade attachment, fitted to a hand held grinder, spinning at 11,000 RPM centimeters from my fingers.... and no gaurd (not advisable!!). I was wearing chainsaw gloves of course, the blade is vicious. Very very effective though - it saved me a lot of chiseling time, and I still have all my fingers!!!! Success!!!

Circular Chainsaw Blade for Angle Grinder

- FYI Blade is called the Lancelot, made by King Arthurs Tools. Check it out here - these guys do some really, really excellent products. I've been wanting to buy their "Merlin" tool for ages now... if only I had a good justification :). And yes in the below pic I dont have chainsaw gloves on. So sue me. It was just for the photo, this is definately not how I roll when doing real work... even back then when I was younger and stupider I knew that was dumb.

Filling/refilling copper mixed with epoxy into the numerous cracks that opened in the wood. Almost 1Kg (2.2lb) of copper total was finally added to the piece.

Below - sanding off the excess with a 5" disc drill sanding attachment like this one

Many hours of sanding later, the table is ready to oil.. weight is now 12.5Kg (27.5lb), around 55Kg (121lb) of wood removed!!

After the first coat..

Second coat being applied..

Et voilĂ !! The finished product, only um... 4 years late?

Elm Wood with Copper Powder Inlay Coffee Table
Final Product - Elm Wood Coffee Table with Copper Powder / Epoxy Inlay

Elm Wood with Copper Powder Inlay Coffee Table

Project by Rob Blanch

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