Spalted Maple/ Ambrosia Maple Table and Benches

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Project by Michigander posted 11-19-2015 04:07 PM 1148 views 6 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a kitchen/dining table and benches that I made as a wedding present for my son and his wife. The design is my own which is a modern twist to an arts and crafts shape but done with a non traditional wood.
The tabletop and benchtops are made from 7/8” spalted hard maple with a edge band of 1-1/2” ambrosia maple. The breadboard ends and all joints are pegged with contrasting walnut pegs. Everything is mortise and tenon construction. The base is made from 1-1/2” ambrosia maple. All mortises were drilled and hand chopped with chisels.
The finish started with 3 coats of Watco Danish oil to add a little color followed by a minimum of 5 coats of General Finishes Arm-R Seal oil base urethane. The pictures show the color to be more gold than what it really is as the gold wall color tints it a bit. I say a minimum because a few of the boards in the top were very porous and soaked up the urethane so much that I had to use a thicker brush on urethane to seal the tops well. I think the top has a total of 11 coats.
A great learning project as I had never built a large table, nor done any mortise and tenons nor worked with this material. Your comments both positive and negative are welcome.
Thanks for looking,

15 comments so far

View calisdad's profile


277 posts in 933 days

#1 posted 11-19-2015 04:53 PM

Beautiful wood and craftsmanship.

That will be around for quite some time.

View Mark's profile


814 posts in 1398 days

#2 posted 11-19-2015 04:58 PM

Fabulous table John. Your choice of material is killer. Gotta love the hand cut M & T with the Walnut? pegs. Well done.

-- Mark

View ChickenChaser's profile


102 posts in 504 days

#3 posted 11-19-2015 05:17 PM

Awesome! I like the way you connected the top. Very nice joinery.

View ByronH's profile


10 posts in 463 days

#4 posted 11-19-2015 06:15 PM

Solid work! You asked for constructive comments :) so here is one – I love the spalted maple tops, but I think I would have used a less figured wood for the legs and bases to focus attention on the beautiful wood. I just finished a kitchen island top, so I know how much work it is to get such a nice flat table top. Keep up the good work!

-- To every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, elegant, and completely wrong.

View kimosawboy's profile


164 posts in 2394 days

#5 posted 11-19-2015 06:17 PM

Design/materials/execution done well.
For me the breadboard ends are too wide,and it seems that you cannot breakdown the top stretchers without digging out plugs??
All in all, pretty darn nice.

G Vavra

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1720 posts in 1393 days

#6 posted 11-19-2015 07:30 PM

That is beautiful! Great work. I’m sure your son is very happy. That’s one of my favorite woods too (ambrosia maple).

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View Ottacat's profile


421 posts in 1275 days

#7 posted 11-19-2015 08:20 PM

Awesome looking table and benches. I love the choice of woods, especially the contrasting plugs.

View helluvawreck's profile


22705 posts in 2290 days

#8 posted 11-19-2015 08:33 PM

You’ve done a very nice job on this table and bench set. Congratulations.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View oldrivers's profile


712 posts in 990 days

#9 posted 11-20-2015 12:07 AM

Beautiful heirloom gift, a work of Love, congratulations.

-- Soli Deo gloria!

View Michigander's profile


214 posts in 1843 days

#10 posted 11-20-2015 12:50 AM

ByronH, I appreciate your criticism that the material for the legs is a bit busy. I was aware of that issue when I picked the material for the border and top and legs and that’s why I didn’t use spalted maple for all of it. I was concerned that using a plain vanilla maple would be too much of a contrast so I went with ambrosia. That was my logic and the results are what they are. Thanks for your comments.

View Michigander's profile


214 posts in 1843 days

#11 posted 11-20-2015 01:01 AM

Kimosawboy, I agree with you that the breadboards are too wide, but they cover up a very embarrassing mistake I made while cutting the material for the top and benches. The table and benches were supposed to be 60”, but as I was cutting, I didn’t take into account the extra length needed for the tenons. This is the kind of mistake I make when I am happily working along and not thinking about what I am doing.
As for the ability to knock down the table, I chose to peg and glue the table so as to get the most rigid construction as possible. My mortises being hand cut were not very piston-like (some would say loose) so I panicked and pegged and glued everything.
Now I have confessed my sins, just don’t tell my son and daughter in law…
Thanks everyone for your kind comments. I appreciate them all.

View Mean_Dean's profile


4946 posts in 2571 days

#12 posted 11-20-2015 01:05 AM

Beautiful dining table set! I like the A&C look of it, and that ambrosia maple is really something! I’m sure your son and DIL will love it!

-- Dean

View david38's profile


2398 posts in 1767 days

#13 posted 11-20-2015 02:50 PM

beautiful wood great work

View Scott Oldre's profile

Scott Oldre

742 posts in 2855 days

#14 posted 11-21-2015 12:49 PM

Gorgeous table and benches.

-- Scott, Irmo SC

View Bud_3's profile


663 posts in 647 days

#15 posted 11-22-2015 05:28 PM

Nice work!

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