Somewhere around March or April 2015
Spoiler: This is the new re-do. The story on the rest follows.
I’d just finished the Cherry Morris Chairs project. I needed to repair the lift mechanism on the accursed Jet Super Saw, that’s a whole other story, and had some down time. My wife suggested, with unconstrained directness, that I either cleanup the mess in the garage and/or while I’m at it do a refinish on our mesquite coffee and side table. Being loathe to argue, outwardly, I decided I could make an attempt.
The cleanup could wait some but it would happen sooner or later.
I decided to haul out the tables for a re-do on the finishing. The coffee table was as I put it (a good idea at the time) was made in the end of 2012. The base frame went remarkably smooth as I’d already tuned up my mortise and tenon work skills on the previous 5 commissions since retiring earlier in the year.
All seemed well until I started making the top. I’d saved back a book matched set of Argentine Mesquite I’d acquired years before thinking this would be great for a coffee table. Then…
- The nicely formed eyes were actually pithy bark that crumbled out leaving a large set of sockets a bit too big for fill. I thought it’d be okay, a place to sweep crumbs off into!
- The width was narrower than I remembered by about 5 inches to the total of 24 inches. The table was going to a mini aircraft carrier though, so I needed to find in my stack some complementary pieces to fill out.
- The length was a tad short but I was going to add bread board ends.
- I decided to use a leftover board of Black Mesquite I’d used earlier for a “Man Cave Coffee Table” I did for a client. This worked out for the side and end pieces of the top.
The top build went along using #20 biscuits for joining. The bread board ends were mortised into the top to prevent cupping. Ebony pegs covering the pegged tenons and a length of raised cherry inlaid between the end piece and top.
About this time the deserts mild winter weather became freezing cold. The epoxy fill wouldn’t set, the finish wouldn’t dry. Frost covered the already shrouded plants and trees. The shop was cold, I was cold, my work had turned to ice. In short it was becoming the winter of my discontent.
Finally I scraped off most of the bad fill and finished up with several coats of Watco natural and a half ass satin varnish rub. I’d had enough of this winter.
I did put the table in the living room replacing my first real piece of furniture made in ‘92.
This was a major breakthrough for me. All work with real basic tools, circular saw, an old craftsman table saw and lots of luck. The entire piece was joined with biscuits. Crazy but it’s still in one piece.
The piece was in place.
Dug out as much of the degraded fill I could. Sanded top to 800 grit. Surprising on how deep the patina goes. After two years the wood had aged to a deep brown.
Having just finished some chairs with inlaid turquoise I was encouraged by my wife to try some here.
Using a trim router with an inlay bit I trimmed and made areas for the stones to be laid.
Sanding the stones down until a slight revel was left.
Finished hand sanding to 800 grit, oiled with Watco’s natural and then used several hand rubbings of Waterlox glossy varnish.
The end results were amazing.
I used nuggets in place of a paste of stone and these sparingly.
The bright looking object is a solid copper bowl made from the ladle that was used to scoop the molten metal.
Here the morning sun washes over the table.
Now we’re happy.
-- T Loftus -- Just on the edge of common sense