One day after spending too much time on YouTube searching for random videos, furniture maker and former NFL lineman John Malecki stumbled upon a video by Slovenian Woodworker which shared how to create a ‘floating cave table’ using epoxy and acrylic.
Eager to put his own spin on the project, he upped the ante and crafted a larger coffee-table version with cave-like edges around each side of the design. The process is a bit more complex than you might think but no less interested to see how it comes together:
1. Make the Table Top and Bottom
To make the cave table’s top and bottom, Malecki cuts a LOT of wood strips, glues them together to form a solid slab, and cuts them again to form the top and base he needs. He makes two 34-inch ‘cutting boards’ using a similar method for the sides.
2. Craft The Table Edges
In order for the table to resemble a cave, you’ve got to add the appearance of stalagmites and stalactites. Malecki does this by cutting and hand gluing wood strips of varying lengths, spraying each bit edge with some Cyanoacrylate (CA) glue to serve as a clamp as he complete the glue-up of each side. Once the adhesives take hold, he uses clamps and allows them to cure.
3. Glue The Cave Parts And Add Some Flair
Right now, the stalagmites and stalactites look little more than glued slabs of uneven wood. But once Malecki glues these babies onto the edges of the two cutting boards, he starts marking and cutting them into bonafide cave decorations.
After trimming the edges with a Skillsaw, he takes an angle grinder, his ‘power carving tool’, and goes to work shaping the top and bottom of the cave table to look as natural as possible.
Just to make sure the edges are nice and smooth, he sands down the whole thing with a 100-grit sander. Finally, he completes the wood build with some polish and finish.
4. Install In The Acrylic Supports
Up until now, the top portion of the table was held by four makeshift wood legs. To make this cave table look like an actual cave without any visible walls, Malecki bought acrylic sheet which he heavily sands before applying heat to turn the sheets crystal clear. He then installs them in between the top and bottom sections of the table.
And there you have it, a cave table with a crystal clear look inside it. Unlike the coffee table it was based on, this is a hefty table with a lot more space on top for books, TV remotes, or just for propping your legs (though I wouldn’t recommend putting your full weight on an acrylic table).
If you like watching videos of furniture being made, John Malecki’s YouTube channel is full of them.