Now that we had decided to create our own custom parota dining table, we needed to first source our top. When we were in Mexico looking for the finished product, we also found that we could purchase the raw slab there as well. The only problem was bringing it up through customs.
The guy that we were going to purchase through said he had no issues with previous customers and they all made it through without problem. But he was just a guy with a small shop on the side of the road, so it wasn’t like we could just review his yelp for any info. And he only took cash, so it was a large amount of cash to be handing to someone with no way of knowing that it wouldn’t get confiscated at the border. We asked a few of the border patrol agents on our way back up what their experience with this type of import was, and they all made it clear that a piece of wood like this would require a thorough inspection at customs, which could take hours and many of them said it could potentially be seized for any small reason.
We decided not to risk it, so we looked a little more and ended up finding a small company in San Diego county that sold the slabs (at a little higher price of course, this isn’t Meh-hee-co after all). They had a really great website that showed each slab online and we were able to get a couple in mind to make our actual purchase a lot smoother.
Once I had three slabs in mind, I made my way down south again with my handy dandy husband. I needed his muscle, his wallet, and his truck, otherwise I knew better than to bring him. He had such a strong opinion on what type and shape of a table he wanted. And it wasn’t anywhere what I was thinking.
Immediately upon arriving he denied all three of my options. One was too square, one was too thin, and one didn’t have enough grain in it. After spending hours on their website picking the perfect three slabs, he decided in 5 minutes that my choices were boring. So with the help of one of the employees, my husband sifted through their inventory and was able find us one that we could both agree on – a little irregular, somewhat straight, and a beautiful grain. Only problem was, it had a bow in the middle so the slab needed heavy sanding to level it out.
The company gave us a great deal because of this, so we paid the man, loaded up our baby, and headed home. We were so excited! There’s one thing to do the actual planning, but it’s another to launch the first steps into action by making a hefty purchase like this. I could smell the fresh table top in the air and I couldn’t wait to get it done and in my home.
Since the slab needed heavy sanding (around 3/4″ in thickness taken off to level it), and my husband didn’t have the time or proper tools readily available, we chose to have a different company handle this for us. During our research period, we were referred to this company by a friend who had used them before for other projects. Their pricing was great, and I was able to call them up immediately after we loaded up our slab, drop it off that same day, and have it sanded down within minutes.
Once we got it home, we realized it was a foot too long for our dining room so my husband cut about a foot off the length. Because the edges were really straight and sharp and didn’t look good with the other irregular live edges, he took a small sander and started creating a more natural, eased edge and even added in some deeper grooves and dents on the cut ends. It really gave the table a beautiful, authentic look.
Now that the top was ready, we needed to figure out a base… Parota Table Phase 3 – The Base