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Cuban Mahogany Coffee Table

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Project by StLouisWoodworker posted 2475 days ago 2663 views 3 times favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch

On a recent driving trip to South Florida, I managed to purchase a 6/4 thick, 7’ long slab of Cuban mahogany with two live edges, with spalting along each edge. I turned it into the coffee table pictured. I made one leg of the table by cutting off a portion of the board and jointing it back on at 90 degrees. The joinery is through dovetails that are mitered along the outer edges so the spalting flows around the corner continuously. A friend who volunteers at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis provided the picture of leaves and flowers of a Cuban mahogany tree, and these were used to paint a representation of them flowing around the folded edge. The finish I used is 3 coats of shellac, 3 coats of urathane oil top coat, and one coat of polycrystalline wax. Dimensions: height 17”, length 54”, width varies between 18” and 15”.

-- Don Snyder (38.6N, 90.3W)





25 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18613 posts in 2660 days


#1 posted 2475 days ago

stunning
stunning
stunning. I really love this.. wow.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15544 posts in 2718 days


#2 posted 2475 days ago

Nice slab put to good use!

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

View BlueStingrayBoots's profile

BlueStingrayBoots

713 posts in 2501 days


#3 posted 2475 days ago

That’s beautiful, I would love to see that in person. Is it heavy?

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

12482 posts in 2482 days


#4 posted 2475 days ago

This is one of the nicest benches I have ever saw. The woodworking is awsome and the painting is very nice addition. Who painted the leaves ?

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View StLouisWoodworker's profile

StLouisWoodworker

45 posts in 2476 days


#5 posted 2475 days ago

The painting of the leaves was done by a neighbor of mine, Joy S. She has painted some other projects of mine. I made four hammered dulcimers, and Joy painted birds and branches on the soundboards. I also made a sundial that showed date lines for the birthdays of my sons and wife, and Joy painted some branches and leaves on it—that sundial showed only noon time but the paintings have faded badly due to sun exposure. Joy is quite a women. She’s about as old as me—and that’s pretty old—but very active, raising dogs, chickens, honey bees, etc., and making quilts and various things (I don’t know what else to call them) out of wax. Those she sells at a local ‘farmers’ market. Joy is a very nice lady with a lot of talent. To answer ‘BlueStingrayBoots’ question about the weight of the table, I just pulled out my bathroom scale. It’s not callibrated, so this is just an estimate. The coffee table weighs 35 pounds. That’s about 1/3 Joy and about 1/5 me.

-- Don Snyder (38.6N, 90.3W)

View Max's profile

Max

55949 posts in 2773 days


#6 posted 2475 days ago

I really like the natural edge on the table. The craftsmanship is great….

-- Max "Desperado", Salt Lake City, UT

View oscorner's profile

oscorner

4564 posts in 2810 days


#7 posted 2474 days ago

Another work of art!

-- Jesus is Lord!

View Karson's profile

Karson

34795 posts in 2900 days


#8 posted 2474 days ago

Great design with the flowing natural edge. That is a great implementation of your design. The other leg what is it.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View Dr_Unix's profile

Dr_Unix

49 posts in 2621 days


#9 posted 2474 days ago

Beautiful work!

...but aren’t Cuban products illegal in the US? Or is Cuban Mahogany a variety of Mahogany that can be grown in other places?

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 2586 days


#10 posted 2474 days ago

Beautiful idea with that leg. Very nice bench.

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker http://www.capecodbaychallenge.org

View jockmike2's profile

jockmike2

10635 posts in 2746 days


#11 posted 2474 days ago

This is a beautiful bench. I like the width of it. jockmike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View StLouisWoodworker's profile

StLouisWoodworker

45 posts in 2476 days


#12 posted 2474 days ago

Thanks, once again, for all the positive comments. In reply to Dr_Unix and the question about the ‘legality of Cuban products,’ Cuban mahogany (i.e., swietenia mahogoni) is a type of mahogany tree that grows in South Florida. I don’t know how abundent it is, but a woodworker there told me it may be a protected tree. The wood sometimes becomes available after hurricanes. I obtained the board from the Woodcraft store in Ft. Lauderdale. Ft. Lauderdale did suffer a heavy duty hurricane last year. Maybe the board originated from a tree downed in that storm, but I have no way to know. I have seen several other Cuban mahogany boards at that Woodcraft store, so boards of that type do not seem too difficult to purchase from reputable suppliers. It isn’t imported from Cuba. That Woodcraft store does seem to have a lot of interesting boards of various local species for sale, so it is worth a stop to take a look if you happen to get in the vicinity. It’s located on Federal Hwy near Commercial Blvd. To answer Karson’s question, the other leg is also mahogany but not from the same tree. I happened to attend a meeting of the South Florida Woodworking Guild on an evening when a member was giving away some mahogany boards. The leg is made from one of those boards. That Guild welcomes visitors to their meetings, so attend one if you get the chance. They meet once a month at the same Woodcraft store.

-- Don Snyder (38.6N, 90.3W)

View Dorje's profile

Dorje

1763 posts in 2496 days


#13 posted 2474 days ago

St.Louis – the more I look at this the more I appreciate it. I like the detail of mitering where the half-pin would typically be. Never would have thought about that! How did you join the other leg under the table?

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View Don's profile

Don

2598 posts in 2676 days


#14 posted 2474 days ago

Very nice work, SLW.

I like the mitered dovetail. I don a few myself and they sure add sophistication to an already attractive joint.

Interesting how you introduced this project as a coffee table but a number of LJ’s have called it a bench. I suppose it could serve either purpose.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!" http://dpb-photography.me/

View Napaman's profile

Napaman

5275 posts in 2576 days


#15 posted 2474 days ago

amazing…i love the color…and the edges…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

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