A customer story: from Neil in Detroit, MI

In the summer of 2012, a large Elm tree was cut down. I asked the tree crew to cut a slice (about 50″ diam and 5″ thick) at the very base just because it looked interesting.

elm table raw

Then I investigated several methods of preservation (PEG, etc.) and discovered Preservation Solutions. I had no previous experience working with wood other than varnishing wood on a boat and floors.

After a very helpful conversation with you, I ordered 2 gallons of Pentacryl and I created a bathtub using a plastic tarp and bricks to make sides. Mostly I soaked the top using a brush and then every couple applications I would flip the wood over and do the other side (Probably could have used more Pentacryl…but it seemed the wood was fairly saturated). After that I stored the piece vertically in the unheated garage between pieces of cardboard from 2012 until summer of 2014.

The tree guys weren’t too particular when they cut the slice and it was wider than the bar so there were lots of marks. On the picture showing the legs, you can see how it was hacked up when they tried to thin the piece since it weighs a good 90 pounds:

elm table legs

This year (2014) I started sanding using a belt sander to smooth one side.I went from 30 to 400 grit, using an orbital sander after 100 grit. Since this table will probably be outside during the summer, I talked to lots of people at art fairs who did wood work re how to finish…got many suggestions from Walnut Oil, Poly, Linseed, Tung etc. Although I had other small pieces of Elm, it was difficult to experiment since none had been treated and then sanded that fine.

Elm table sanded

Finally I found General Finishes Outdoor Oil (Clear) which is supposed to be best for outdoors. I brushed several coats on which were absorbed and darkened the wood. Then I used a paste car wax and buffed as recommended by a woodworking artist .
Legs are threaded pipes cut to length and screwed into bases…allows them to be removed so it is easier to move table.

elm table complete black

The table has yet to be used outside, so I don’t know how it will react to rain and moisture…probably I will cover it with clear plastic sheet when not in use or rain threatens.

In the following picture you will note a crack in the center…this is not a “split” and was always there. It is the result of the tree starting out as two trees that grew together after about 8 years. Overall # of rings is 68.

elm table complete center

Another interesting element is that since the slice was cut at the base where the trunk spread to the roots the table sides are tapered. I think this makes the table seem less massive and appears to be floating more.

elm table complete black #2