Bubinga Over Marbilized Concrete

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Project by Eric M. Saperstein posted 05-06-2012 05:33 AM 2101 views 2 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So one day Mike and I wander into a local lumber yard and as usual we ponder over the various interesting slabs of wood. So began the bubinga project last summer … we blogged it so take an interlude trip into the prequel stories here:

This project started out as about an 11ft 6” slab – if you notice the markings on the image while it was still sitting at the mill that’s a piece of admissible evidence in my case against my father and partner (Mike Pietras) whom elected to knock it down to 8ft while I was conveniently out of the country last August. They claimed it would sell easier and that there was a weird warp in it … apparently it jammed up any sander or planer they attempted to put it through. So off to the CNC deck it went for leveling; when they found it to be warped off went 42”.

So now we had a nice 8ft live edge bubinga slab and a matching 42” cut off (sooner or later we’ll get to work with that for a matching coffee table probably …)

We kicked around all sorts of ideas for a base for this slab, knowing we were going in new directions and it had to be unique. We quickly gave up on any thought of wood, the normal path of slab legs, trestles, or a typical four legger just had no appeal. Mike had just finished the dovetail concrete bench ( and it we had been working with ideas for concrete … obviously that is the direction we took.

The angled “T” shape is Mike’s doing – he’s the modern specialist. We played around with a foam mockup until we figured out what we liked. Then built the forms and cast the bases. These are solid fiber reinforced colored concrete. The color is all the way through, not painted or surface. The graining is also solid concrete its not going to wear off. We can do this with any combination of colors, preferably at least three to make the contrast interesting. We can also include glass, metal, tile, or stone into the mix to make an even more unique pattern.

Finish is a process of working with epoxy and tung oil … our own tricks. The net result is a pretty hardy finish that works well with such a tough wood. Shown in the photos is my friend metal artist Erik Hendrickson who is playing with fire dust. The fires are lit on cast metal plates directly on the surface of the table – no trivets or barriers. No damage, not even a mark the wax and carbon wiped right off.

Going forward – well there’s several slabs in our inventory of various different kinds of wood as well as a stockpile of lumber. We’re also thinking about flipping the concept and doing some concrete tops on wood bases. Of course there is glass and metal to intertwine as well.

None of this is entirely new, materials are combined all the time. Wood has been around for just a little while, and concrete certainly longer than I have. Our goal is to do it a bit different – come up with the unique designs that get attention and ultimately make the sale!

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman

7 comments so far

View ShopTinker's profile


884 posts in 3034 days

#1 posted 05-06-2012 11:08 AM

That is a very cool table. I’ve not been partial to modernistic furniture, but your slab on a concrete base tables have really grown on me.

-- Dan - Valparaiso, Indiana, "A smart man changes his mind, a fool never does."

View IndianJoe's profile


425 posts in 2515 days

#2 posted 05-06-2012 12:44 PM

love the looks but not for me , vary nice !!

-- Nimkee** Joe

View randomray's profile


111 posts in 3290 days

#3 posted 05-06-2012 02:02 PM

I have to say it turned out well . Really a very nice piece . That said I really hate the style . But there a many people that love it and you are making furniture to sell . So it’s great that you have a wide range of designs and skills .

-- Anybody can break something it takes skill to make or repair stuff .

View DocSavage45's profile


8738 posts in 3108 days

#4 posted 05-06-2012 04:29 PM

Sorry about the loss of material. Looks like a great save. Can see evolution in your work. Like the use ofa light concrete. Might be you pictures but I can’t really see the wood grain?

Hope it finds a customer so you can create more. Think it is great that you are working together. Must get interesting when you are wanting to go in different directions.

As I see it in the room it feels different, more oh yeah, than out of context as a stand alone piece. Hope I’m not just rambling. LOL!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4159 days

#5 posted 05-07-2012 02:11 AM

gotta say

the wood is beautiful

the concept………..just looks awkward

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Martyroc's profile


2712 posts in 2572 days

#6 posted 05-07-2012 11:26 PM

Nice design, looks good

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

View Eric M. Saperstein's profile

Eric M. Saperstein

766 posts in 3514 days

#7 posted 05-10-2012 03:31 AM

Yeah – we keep pitching a reality show as when the disputes come up it gets interesting! It would have made a whole sub plot for an episode w/ me off in the Dominican while my dad and Mike were conspiring w/ our CNC guy to chop off a few feet! No takers yet – but who knows someday!

What makes this most interesting is I actually don’t like most modern furniture, I can appreciate the craftsmanship and the detail but I don’t find it my style. I find the slab fascinating, the concrete is interesting but I still have a quarter sawn white oak gothic table in my gameroom. I could have almost any table I would ever dream of as I can build myself anything at cost – space is my limitation. ...

The table is sitting at Hopewell Vineyards – we’ve started a small battle there as between the owners the wife loves it and the husband not so much. It actually doesn’t go with that room at all – the style would look great in a NY loft but not so much a stone winery ballroom with copper accents. The table however is requested CONSTANTLY for weddings and events as a head table.

It’ll be interesting as an experiment at some point to swap it out for something entirely different and see what the response is.

I hate shiny wood – I like grain, natural just warm contrasting grain. So finish to me should be satin, maybe semi-gloss on like a pen or a wine stopper some kinda turning where the shine brings out the look a little. That said shiny wood SELLS … so if that’s the request that’s what we do.

Mike drives me nuts trying to make everything perfect and shiny – LEAVE that dent alone and stop trying to make it look like a car, it’s WOOD. This particular piece is really hard to photograph with the shine on it. We tried it outside and got nothing but a glare. The best shot of the wood I’ve gotten so far is it standing in the shop.

As this is a concept piece – much like a concept car it will evolve. Someone will come along and say hey I kinda like that but can you change it and do this or … fill in whatever … and off we go with a commission in a totally new direction. If this invokes projects we previously did not have – well then it worked!

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman

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