A friend had given us several long slabs of wood and they had been sitting around for some time, so I decided to put them to use. We have two laundry machines outside the house, under a roof, but only had a make-shift bench on which to put baskets and other miscellaneous items. It looked pretty bad as it was simply an old slab of wood placed on top of two stacks of wood to prop it up.
The length of the table needed to be about 3 meters, as that was the length between the 3 posts I wanted to bridge (see image). The idea was to get the table up off the ground level to a user-friendly height, and mount it permanently onto the posts. However, the particular slab of wood I had to work with was a piece of sapwood cut from very near bark-side, with both edges still displaying the natural contour of the outer skin of the tree.
But as you may know, the closer the larger surfaces of a piece gets to bark-side, the more prone to warping they are. Imagine taking a 3 meter log and ripping it down its length into straight 3 meter boards of equal thickness. These boards will vary considerably in width due to the circular shape of the log. But the boards closest to the heartwood (widest pieces) will be quartersawn while the rest will be flatsawn.
You can see from the photos that this particular board did not come from the center but nearer to the edge. This means that I should expect it to be fairly unstable and prone to warping. In fact, it was already cupped considerably on one end, but was tolerable. To prevent it from the possibility of warping further, I stained and sealed it immediately after cutting it down to size and sanding.
I liked the idea of having one natural edge for the front of the table, but I needed the other side to be cut straight as it had to meet the 3 posts. I incorporated the clamp and straight-edge method where you measure the distance between your circular saw’s blade and base plate edge, and clamp a stiff straight-edge that distance from the line on the board where you want to cut. If done properly, this should give you a more or less perfectly straight cut.
I would have preferred for the table to have a bit more depth, but after ripping off one edge, there was only about 30 centimeters left. I used chunks of 2 by 4 with 45 degree angle cuts as brackets. The horizontal 2 by 4s that stretch across the posts under the table top are doubled one over the other because I wanted to support the back end of the table as well as have a place to mount the brackets.
You can also view more photos of the entire project here if you like. Enjoy!