Purpleheart Writing Desk

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Project by JayG46 posted 08-03-2013 08:40 AM 3021 views 5 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My girlfriend is graduating from her masters program in accounting this weekend and moving on to her CPA exam. She asked if I could build her a table to study at since she has been doing most of her school work on the couch. As she was describing what she wanted, I immediately thought of these two beautiful bookmatched pieces of beeswing purpleheart that were about the right size and just dying to be cut up.

The only issue with the purpleheart is that it was only about 1/2” thick, rigid enough to hold weight but not visually hefty enough to be exposed. I took some 8/4 maple, made a mitered frame and ran a piece of 4/4 curly maple down the middle. It all fits together with dados very nicely but made for a tricky glue-up.

I had another piece of the same purpleheart that had not been resawn but was badly checked and cracked down the middle. It turned out to be just enough for the skirt material which is not very visible in the pictures or in person.

All four legs came out of the same 3×3x48 piece of purpleheart. I ran a long bandsaw cut from corner to corner and split those pieces on the table saw, leaving four very long wedges. I then cut off the bottom 15 inches (too narrow) and three from the top. The next step was to set the table saw at 2” and create a top section for the leg that was square to delay the taper and accept the skirt. There is all sorts of chamfering on the legs as well. It was my first time trying this technique and I was pleasantly surprised with the results.

The best part of this project is that I went from making my first cut to applying the first coat of finish in one day. The finish is Watco Danish Oil with a few coats of wax coming for the top, so my next move is to turn a couple of coasters! Thanks for checking it out.

-- Jay Gargiulo, Naples, FL "Once you understand the way broadly, you can see it in all things."- Miyamoto Musashi

11 comments so far

View ward63's profile


351 posts in 2989 days

#1 posted 08-03-2013 12:45 PM

Wow, that a beautiful table! I’m sure your girlfriend will be pleased when she see’s it.
Thanks for sharing.

View JayG46's profile


139 posts in 1760 days

#2 posted 08-03-2013 01:09 PM

Thanks Ward. As I’m sure you know, significant others are usually thrilled with anything we make for them by hand, so the bar won’t be too high. She probably won’t notice that one of the mitered corners isn’t perfect :)

-- Jay Gargiulo, Naples, FL "Once you understand the way broadly, you can see it in all things."- Miyamoto Musashi

View helluvawreck's profile


30112 posts in 2768 days

#3 posted 08-03-2013 01:41 PM

This is real nice and I love the wood.

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 Kevin's profile


555 posts in 2201 days

#4 posted 08-03-2013 01:55 PM

Turned out great. I really like the contrast between the purple heart and the maple.

-- Measure twice, cut once, then sand a whole bunch

View deon's profile


2522 posts in 2927 days

#5 posted 08-03-2013 05:54 PM

Looks great. i am sure she will be happy

-- Dreaming patterns

View Jofa's profile


272 posts in 1740 days

#6 posted 08-03-2013 10:37 PM

Beautiful work.

-- Thank you Lord for the passion and ability to make things from your creation.

View JayG46's profile


139 posts in 1760 days

#7 posted 08-03-2013 11:43 PM

Thanks for the comments, everyone. I brought it home today and she was really pleased with it.

-- Jay Gargiulo, Naples, FL "Once you understand the way broadly, you can see it in all things."- Miyamoto Musashi

View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 1726 days

#8 posted 08-04-2013 12:23 AM

Very nice table…the purple heart looks great and nice fine tapered legs are beautiful…nicely done.

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

View David Dean's profile

David Dean

608 posts in 2801 days

#9 posted 08-04-2013 01:31 AM

nice job and the color of the wood is great

View Ottacat's profile


466 posts in 1753 days

#10 posted 08-04-2013 04:38 AM

Really nice and creative solution to using the purple heart. Best of luck to your gf on her exams – she has a beautiful desk to study on.

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 2077 days

#11 posted 08-07-2013 02:32 PM

Very pretty table! Great design, love the top and the legs. The purple heart really stands out. Great work!


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