There have been a number of bumps in the road.
First- tiles are not as easy to make as you'd think. If the clay isn't properly prepared, they buckle and split like a group of Green Bay fans caught between a Leinenkugels booth and a bratwurst stand (sorry- it's football season!).
Second- I wasn't sure whether to fire my tiles at cone six (high fire) or using Raku.
Cone six tiles would theoretically be more durable. On the flip side, raku displays my carvings better, and yields (in my opinion) a surface of great beauty. As some comparison, here are a couple tiles I fired at cone six...
Here's the run of raku tiles that I ended up using recently...
The other challenge was the actual process of grouting the tiles into the tabletop, not to mention routering out the table in the first place.
I'm fortunately in that my dad found a table at a garage sale with pre-existing, replaceable glass panels. So- the routering will have to wait for the next one. (I did buy myself a swanky porter-cable recently).
So far so good, however. Other than leaving grout spikes in my rapidly receding hair, the process seemed to unfold without a hitch. My thirteen year old stepson had a post-school snack blowout atop the thing today, and it held up to the strain. Other than shoving the table in Indiana Jones' refrigerator and nuking it, I'm not sure whether there's a more rigorous test that I can perform. Yay!!!