New Wave Gothic Desk (Library Table)

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Project by Eric M. Saperstein posted 07-05-2009 07:28 AM 4015 views 7 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a New Wave Gothic desk in Solid Quarter Sawn White Oak -

The design combines elements from Gothic, Renaissance, Mission, Jacobean & maybe even a little country. Features include an original design gothic tracery (fretwork) panel in each trestle leg, rope carving, corbels, & leaf carving.

The piece is done with mortis & tenon joints throughout – all pegged and glued. The top is a floating panel configuration consisting of 8/4” frames and 6/4” tung and grove panels.

Finish is a hand rubbed hand cut shellac & Waterlox tung oil varnish over a combination of steps using various Mohawk penetrating stains.

More details on this project:

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman

17 comments so far

View Jim's profile


253 posts in 3613 days

#1 posted 07-05-2009 07:32 AM

Wow the detail is incredible!

-- Jim in Langley BC Canada ---

View Durnik150's profile


647 posts in 3289 days

#2 posted 07-05-2009 07:51 AM

Wow!! Could you post some dimensions for us?

-- Behind the Bark is a lot of Heartwood----Charles, Centennial, CO

View Eric M. Saperstein's profile

Eric M. Saperstein

766 posts in 3216 days

#3 posted 07-05-2009 07:57 AM

Thanks for the feedback!

Tabletop is 72” x 36” height was 31”

Top thickness is 8/4” – the rest of the materials are derived based on the 8/4” base, legs are doubled up, feet and braces are tripled.

Inset is generally around 3” for the apron – apron thickness we usually match to the thickness of the leg so around 3 1/4 – 3 3/4”

We can offer some of the components if you want to build one.

We build these all sizes, kitchen tables, dining tables, etc …

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman

View isetegija's profile


763 posts in 3482 days

#4 posted 07-05-2009 07:59 AM

This is magnificent work!

Thanks for sharing with us and welcome to Lumberjocks community.

-- Not my woodworking

View Durnik150's profile


647 posts in 3289 days

#5 posted 07-05-2009 08:02 AM

Whew!! That is a BIG desk. I love these huge desks that command a room simply by their presence. Thanks for sharing.

-- Behind the Bark is a lot of Heartwood----Charles, Centennial, CO

View Eric M. Saperstein's profile

Eric M. Saperstein

766 posts in 3216 days

#6 posted 07-05-2009 08:36 AM

Yes – gave a great look. The desk ended up in a lawyer’s home in PA. The home office is off to the right of his entrance foyer through a set of french doors which I would figure would be normally left open. The desk is setting as we left it on an angle into the corner of the room. If he sets it up right with a heavy leather chair and various items positioned all the wall behind it, it’ll really give a great first impression.

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4186 days

#7 posted 07-05-2009 03:27 PM

The detail is amazing. Any idea how many man-hours went into it?

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View bowyer's profile


340 posts in 3364 days

#8 posted 07-05-2009 03:42 PM

Your talent for wood working really shows through on this desk!! I love the carvings, they really turn this desk into a beautiful work of art. Sooooo how many strong backs did it take to move it?


-- If at first you don't succeed...Don't try skydiving

View john's profile


2370 posts in 4349 days

#9 posted 07-05-2009 03:43 PM

View Eric M. Saperstein's profile

Eric M. Saperstein

766 posts in 3216 days

#10 posted 07-05-2009 03:46 PM

I should know the answer to that question with greater accuracy … but every time we decide at the beginning of a commission that we’re going to clock in/out of the project within the first week that practice falls aside.

If we started on the piece and worked strait through given glue time, etc we could probably complete a large desk / small dining table within a month or so. There are roughly 150-250 hours in these tables depending on the specific detail, features, etc.

We cheat now and had the panels set for CNC carving so we can get the blanks done reasonably quickly, it beats a few hours with a scroll saw this way. We go back and retouch everything so the net result is all hand cut, square inside corners, put a little imperfection in, etc.

We can hand carve every detail on the piece, but that depends on the client’s requirements and budget. Most opt for us to purchase corbels and appliques and modify them as required. The time and cost savings is phenomenal in just this detail.

We hand carve all of the larger rope moldings, and can do it all but often also employ manufactured moldings for the thin stuff. This again falls to the need to keep pace or loose time and money on the project.

Another key factor is do they want all faces quarter sawn? – That as I’m sure you all know is time consuming and tedious to execute. I’ll post some photos soon of another table project that is entirely quater sawn. My best advice to that end is don’t cut your fingers off doing that crazy angled BS. We inset 1/4” thick veneer “plate” over the faces opposing the quarter sawn grain and by the time we round the edges it is impossible to see the joints. This is again, a PAIN, given we have to dado out the material leaving just a fine thin edge to support the piece through the saw and to avoid the side of the plate from being exposed.

We finally built one for ourselves last year, I got obsessive about EVERYTHING exposed being quartersawn or carved. just haven’t had a chance to do a shoot on it. My plan on that is to use our deck and setup an outdoor scene with the gothic table foreground and use our trellis of roses as the backdrop – just need to time it with a bloom. Between that and the stainless steel modern grill to the side it should create a unique setting.

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman

View Eric M. Saperstein's profile

Eric M. Saperstein

766 posts in 3216 days

#11 posted 07-05-2009 03:51 PM

Ahh – yes – moving the gothic pieces. My back is NOT happy with me about such efforts … I usually round up a few friends and make sure I have beer, food, and a few $ on hand to cover the bribes.

This piece weighs in at roughly 400lbs. The big dining table versions (usually 8-10ft x 4ft or so) come in more towards the 650lb+ range. Two strong guys can lift one assembled for a short period, but we usually separate the top from the base for any distance movement.

What really amazes me is how much sawdust is produced. I tried to figure it out one time from the estimated shipment weight of the raw material vs. the finished table but given the random scrap we lost track. I’d guess that we loose about half the weight in material from ruff planks through to finish products including cast off material, etc.

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman

View Les Hastings's profile

Les Hastings

1305 posts in 3741 days

#12 posted 07-05-2009 04:03 PM

Awesome table, fantastic design.

-- Les, Wichita, Ks. (I'd rather be covered in saw dust!)

View Eric M. Saperstein's profile

Eric M. Saperstein

766 posts in 3216 days

#13 posted 07-06-2009 01:02 AM

Added a few more photos …

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman

View a1Jim's profile


117063 posts in 3545 days

#14 posted 07-06-2009 01:04 AM

nice scroll work

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3742 days

#15 posted 07-06-2009 08:50 AM

Exquisite detail and design. Very impressive work. Thanks for posting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

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