Bonsai Work Table


(Frank Corrigan) #1

Over the past decade i have been adapting used salon chairs for use as Bonsai work table for myself, friends and students.
I thought it might be helpful to post a couple of pictures showing the top and mounting that i have settled on after experimenting with various shapes and sizes.
Top is 1 1/4 inch thick, 22 inch diameter, hardwood. The underneath support is also round 15 inch diameter, with same material and thickness as above. A bevel piece of wood is used to level the metal support frame that fits over the steel hydraulic post on the salon chair. Lag screws with washers used for mounting.
All wood components are glued and screwed from the underside. As i am using laminated pieces, i have also rotated the joints on a 90 degree position for cross strength and even weight distribution. Wood is stained and sealed with polyurethane. Top has several coats, wet sanded between coat and buffed out with polisher.
Then it gets scratched and real dirty fast and i call it patina!


(Jonas Dupuich) #2

Very nice Frank. I like the idea of cutting the angled piece of wood to size instead of stacking washers to get the base level.

How do you like the polyurethane finish on the surface - is it ever slippery?


(Frank Corrigan) #3

I switched to the angled piece for better distribution of weight and stress. A little trickier to cut on the angle. Actually screwed the small piece onto a larger piece to stabilize at the right angle before passing through the table saw. Trick is to place the screws where they will not be in contact with the blade when the angle is cut. Screws from the back side.
The polyurethane works very well. I thin the first coat by 10% to use as a sealer. Then thin coats, wet sanding between every third coat. Very durable and easy to keep clean. The constant wear and tear seems to give the surface a rougher patina fairly quickly and i have not had any trouble with pots sliding. I do make a habit of tying down pots that are tilted when working. It is a good idea to secure stronger cup hooks or eye bolts under the table top to attach cords for securing pots when desired. Bungee cords hooked to themselves can work as well. I have tried rubber mats and found them a nuisance to secure, clean and maintain.


(Jonas Dupuich) #4

Ah, I like the hooks on the bottom approach. Michael Hagedorn recommended making a square table top instead of round just to facilitate tying trees down when needed. For years I’ve had one square and one round turntable - am not sure I have a big preference for one over the other.

I only just started working on larger folding tables when I’m working on smaller trees and I find the additional surface area makes life much easier. I like the turntables best for larger, more refined material.


(Frank Corrigan) #5

Additional surface area is one of the reasons i have increased the diameter. always seems to be one more tool or item i would like to have handy. Best configuration i have found is one turntable to work on, with one off to either side for tools and materials. But then i tend to spoil myself when working.
Squares and rectangles are preferred by some. I have to admit i prefer the round aesthetically and having short arms protruding corners seem to get in my way at times, necessitating lifting and moving the pot extra.
For larger trees, i resort to the rectangular turn table on the hydraulic cart. Harder to sit up to and work on the tree, but so much easier to manouver heavier trees to and from the workshop and deal with them inside. Fewer visits to the physiotherapist.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone.