Alder/ Turquoise inlaid End Tables

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Project by Gerry posted 07-22-2010 09:45 AM 3144 views 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

These tables are the first fine furniture I have ever attempted. Both my wife and I are thrilled with the way they turned out. They are made of knotty alder, with hard maple, ebony, and turquoise inlays. They are approximately 16” square and 25” tall, and finished with 3 coats of Watco Natural finish, and a coat of Bri-wax.

The original plan called for the table tops to be granite. Since that look was inconsistent with the rest of the wood in the library, I determined to make them from solid wood. The top blanks were jointed, milled, assembled with opposing grain directions, and glued up.

Since the structural design of the table depended on the lower shelf and it’s joinery, it had to be plywood. It is made from ½” Finnish Birch plywood, and covered with 1/16” knotty alder veneer with I cut on the band saw.

Once both the tops and the shelves were done, the natural voids in the surface appeared to be calling for a more artistic approach than merely black epoxy. That is where I got the idea that turquoise would be complimentary and make the tables unique. Of course, finding the turquoise in the right size pieces was another story. I finally found what I needed in a rock shop in Bisbee, AZ.

So with much sanding, gluing, scraping, veneering, and finishing, the result is shown here.

-- -Gerry, Hereford, AZ ” A really good woodworker knows how the hide his / her mistakes.”

8 comments so far

View majuvla's profile


12285 posts in 2867 days

#1 posted 07-22-2010 10:01 AM

Very nice tables,nice colours and wood combinations.I like ebony ‘touch’.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View dbol's profile


136 posts in 2998 days

#2 posted 07-22-2010 01:11 PM

Really nice tables. the pegs make the legs so interesting. Does any know if there is a blog or a video on doing turquoise inlays? or are they done the same way as other inlays?

View Popsnsons's profile


387 posts in 2981 days

#3 posted 07-23-2010 05:57 AM

Great results. They reflect your hard work. I like the shape of the angled legs.

-- Pops ~ In So Cal...

View Gerry's profile


264 posts in 3241 days

#4 posted 07-23-2010 11:32 PM

Thank you all for the kind words. Building these tables was a learning journey for me, as most of my projects are.

dbol, the turquoise inlays were done with small to tiny pieces of turquiose, placed in existing voids in the wood. Then the balance of the space was filled with ground turquoise, glued in place, and then sanded to achieve a finished look. The maple inlays in the legs were done with a shop made jig and a router, and hard maple made to fit.

-- -Gerry, Hereford, AZ ” A really good woodworker knows how the hide his / her mistakes.”

View workerinwood's profile


2717 posts in 3067 days

#5 posted 07-24-2010 08:36 PM

Great job!! Look forward to seeing more of your projects.

-- Jack, Albuquerque

View BCinPhx's profile


23 posts in 2928 days

#6 posted 08-09-2010 04:41 PM

They really are NICE! Took you a while, huh.

-- CPT Bill - No matter how many times I cut still comes up short !

View Chiefwoodworker's profile


149 posts in 3378 days

#7 posted 05-06-2011 08:36 PM


Very nice table and quite some results, especially for a first fine woodworking project. I really like the design and the use of pegs in the legs. Nice job.

-- Joe.....

View Gerry's profile


264 posts in 3241 days

#8 posted 05-07-2011 06:42 AM

Thanks for the kind words. I enjoyed building them, and I enjoyed the challenges I faced while doing so.
I learned some important lessons on these tables: First, DO NOT build a table with legs set at a 45 degree angle as your first piece of furniture! Second, take your time in doing the setups, and do a test piece first, to be SURE everything will fit! Setup time is well worth the effort when the results are pleasing. Third, cutting veneer is an artform, and applying it is a whole other thing without a vacuum bag. and Fourth, using trim makes a lot of mistakes go away.

So now I’m working on a screen door for my shop, and it’s starting to get warm here. Got to finish it!

-- -Gerry, Hereford, AZ ” A really good woodworker knows how the hide his / her mistakes.”

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