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Cocobolo and Leopardwood Table : Process pics. #1: Veneered Panels/Framing the Top

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Blog entry by jeth posted 02-01-2016 05:12 AM 698 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Cocobolo and Leopardwood Table : Process pics. series Part 2: Apron Panels and a Start to the Legs »

Hello all, I had a couple of peeps interested in seeing the process shots of the Cocobolo and Leopardwood table with drawer that I posted, so I thought I’ll blog it here split into a few parts so nobody has to scroll through it all in one go…
You can see the finished project here.

I don’t have a shot of the small Cocobolo board I was given that inspired this table before I started cutting it up but it was a couple of board feet. There was a lovely rich heartwood section down the center bordered with wide areas of yellow sapwood. It had a lot of nasty cracks and shakes and some nasty/nice spalting in the sapwood sections.
I originally thought that such a small board would get used for a box or other small project but later determined to try and get something more out of it. With this in mind I envisioned using the heart/sapwood contrast and spalting as the main graphic. Once I knew what I could get out of the board I decided it would just stretch to a small table. I had to plan cuts carefully and that helped determine the dimensions of the parts.

I flattened one face, this stuff planed beautifully. I then set about re-sawing into veneers a little over 1/8 thick. The largest single section from the heartside face would become my top panel and sections either side of a large crack on the barkside would give me my apron pieces and my drawer front.

Here you can see the top panel, a sandwich of the cocobolo, 2 layers of some 3/16” luan type ply and Primavera for the underside. The Primavera is over thickness here, easier to handle the glue up of several strips that way then plane it down after veneering. The veneer glue up was done with clamps and cauls and yellow glue.

Here is the top surface during smoothing, hand planed then spot scraped, then a fine sanding to even out the sheen.

Working out the frame pieces.

I have a fair stock of Leopardwood (Roupala montana) and found a section with a nice purplish line running through it with a marked colour difference either side. I wanted this line to flow around the top panel frame pieces, and in order to look right, to meet at the corners. This entailed a lot of faffing, measuring the position of the line relative to the inside edge and planning my cuts carefully.

The frame pieces were grooved at the router table. This wood machines very nicely, though tends to smell burnt even if it’s cutting cleanly.

Mitres being shot on my mitre jack. Again, a lot of fine adjustment to get the best match of that line at the corners.

Here you can see the top in clamps in the background while I work out which bits of the remainder of the board are going to be used where.

Once the top was assembled I cut slots for splines to reinforce the corners, with the help of my friend Big ears...

Why Big ears…?

Big ears is my mortise jig, based on one by Michael Fortune shown in FWW.

Ok, that’s the top covered, all for now, to be continued…



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