Almost three months in the making, and I have to say I’m incredibly excited with how this turned out. A year or two back I began thinking about making a Pittsburgh-themed table after seeing the always-inspiring @john_malecki make a table with a PGH-inspired base. I made the first design in SketchUp and then went through several rounds of changes after realizing that my design had poor structural integrity or was just too difficult to pull off. 
For those of you who don’t know, the top is a mostly to-scale map of Pittsburgh, with the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers creating the Ohio River. The table base is very roughly inspired by one of our famous bridges, the Roberto Clemente Bridge.
The top is walnut and cherry, with @westsystemepoxy_ and “Eye Candy dark ocean blue” pigment for the rivers. Thanks to advice from my brother-in-science AND woodworking, Paul Jasper, Ph.D. (@copper_pig_fine_woodworking) I managed to install the walnut map center into the cherry frame using floating tenons. Paul literally drew the idea for me on a notepad through IG video chat. If he hadn’t suggested this, the whole top would probably have busted apart from seasonal wood movement.
The legs are made from alder given to me for free by Matt Plazek (@mpi_woodworking) after I purchased some black walnut from him. The front and side arches are ash. The bottom shelf is walnut and cherry. The partially hidden shelf under the top is made from the cherry/maple pallet I found at work a few weeks ago. Walnut dowels we’re used throughout for support.
I wanted the final look to be very natural with little sheen and no thick coat. So I went with the new Simple Finish oil and wax by @makerbrandco, deciding to give their stuff a try after hearing them on the @madeforprofitpodcast. The look and feel is perfect!
In the end, my wife @tam_a_ryn says she loves the table – and that’s all that matters to me.

Posts during the making of…

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“Three Rivers Table” Almost three months in the making, and I have to say I’m incredibly excited with how this turned out. A year or two back I began thinking about making a Pittsburgh-themed table after seeing the always-inspiring @john_malecki make a table with a PGH-inspired base. I made the first design in SketchUp and then went through several rounds of changes after realizing that my design had poor structural integrity or was just too difficult to pull off. For those of you who don’t know, the top is a mostly to-scale map of Pittsburgh, with the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers creating the Ohio River. The table base is very roughly inspired by one of our famous bridges, the Roberto Clemente Bridge. The top is walnut and cherry, with @westsystemepoxy_ and “Eye Candy dark ocean blue” pigment for the rivers. Thanks to advice from my brother-in-science AND woodworking, Paul Jasper, Ph.D. (@copper_pig_fine_woodworking) I managed to install the walnut map center into the cherry frame using floating tenons. Paul literally drew the idea for me on a notepad through IG video chat. If he hadn’t suggested this, the whole top would probably have busted apart from seasonal wood movement. The legs are made from alder given to me for free by Matt Plazek (@mpi_woodworking) after I purchased some black walnut from him. The front and side arches are ash. The bottom shelf is walnut and cherry. The partially hidden shelf under the top is made from the cherry/maple pallet I found at work a few weeks ago. Walnut dowels we’re used throughout for support. I wanted the final look to be very natural with little sheen and no thick coat. So I went with the new Simple Finish oil and wax by @makerbrandco , deciding to give their stuff a try after hearing them on the @madeforprofit podcast. The look and feel is perfect! In the end, my wife @tam_a_ryn says she loves the table – and that’s all that matters to me. . . . #woodworking #handmade #woodporn #garageworkshop #homedecor #custommade #DoItYourself #furnituredesign #diyhomedecor #madeinpittsburgh #pittsburghartist #pittsburghpa #pittsburghwoodworking

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What I’m now dubbing the “Three Rivers Table” got its @makerbrandco Simple Finish tonight with @tam_a_ryn’s help. She also gave it the name, which is appropriate as Pittsburgh is the “three rivers” region because of the confluence of the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers into the Ohio river. I’ll hopefully post some actual finished shots when I can get some good photos in natural light. But I’m super stoked with how it has turned out. I’ll mention all those details (and more) again in the final post, as well as the fact that it was initially inspired a year or two ago when I saw the badass @john_malecki make a Pittsburgh bridge-inspired table base. #madeinpittsburgh #pittsburghart #pittsburghwoodworking #diyfurniture #finewoodworking #woodworking #handmadefurniture

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Okay I did manage to squeeze in a quick half hour in the shop today. And since my post yesterday featured my wife @tam_a_ryn as a child in a South African Bosch Tools commercial, I figured I’d include my favorite little @boschtoolsna Flexiclick drill, which I used today to drill my walnut dowel support holes. This drill has come in handy so many times. This is not a paid advert. I just love my Bosch tools (especially my router) and the fact that they made my wife a child STAR! (Not really). For these dowels, I first used a forstner bit to get a clean hole then switched to a regular 1/2” bit. I started the first hole with a homemade jig and then realized I didn’t need it. By hand and eye worked just fine for the rest. I also chucked my dowels in my drill press to sand and make them slightly less snug.

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Pieces all cut and chamfered for the Pittsburgh side table! Next up: drilling holes for dowels to attach everything to the legs and base, then some final sanding (still haven’t sanded most of it), assembly, and finish! This may have to go on hiatus for a little while since we’re gonna have family staying with us for a week. Swipe for more info in the vid. Drilling for the dowels turned out to be as difficult and finicky as I anticipated. The first side sucked as I discovered that my jig didn’t work as well as I hoped. So I switched to angling the dowels, marking both sides, and drilling by eye. That actually worked much better on the other side. There was a lot of going back and forth to the table saw, belt saw, and disc sander to get the fit between the vertical supports and the arch just right. They are quite far from perfect, but I’m fine with how they turned out.

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Wooo Friday. Getting back to this map of Pittsburgh tonight, after spending some QT face-to-face video time with my side piece @copper_pig_fine_woodworking. And by “side piece” I mean virtual buddy who can give me advice on how best to try to avoid screwing this up too badly. I’m gonna attempt his recommendation of using floating tenons to attach the map piece to the frame that will be around it. If you swipe, you can also see the beginnings of the bridge mortises (pretty stoked with how precise I got the holes drilled), my quick DIY forstner stop collar made from a dowel, and the beautiful cherry I found hidden under the surface of that pallet I got from work. #aintnobodygottimeforhashtags

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I imagine these are super boring posts to many of you, but I was pretty excited to make my first tapered cuts tonight on the legs of the Pittsburgh Side Table. And I got to use my @rockler_woodworking taper jig for first time too. It took some finagling to get the jig set up, since my (awesome) DeWalt table saw doesn’t have the same miter slots or distance to the blade that the jig was made for. Had to drill some extra holes and remount the miter bar. But it worked beautifully. I could have built my own, but this came with the hold downs and knobs I wanted anyway. Worth it. And it’s more convenient than my shop-built straight edge jig. I’m making the legs from some alder I got from Matt @mpi_woodworking (great dude. Buy his wood. And he’s teaching classes on making live-edge tables now). I’m also tweaking the leg design. I don’t like the feet at the bottom in the model (which is based on the Clemente Bridge supports). I think this simple taper is more elegant. And won’t be as prone to getting kicked. </ramble> #woodworking #madeinpittsburgh #pittsburghartist #diyfurniture

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