Purpleheart & Sapele Tables #1: Fabrication, Assembly, and Finishing

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Blog entry by Andy Brownell posted 12-20-2010 12:12 AM 2461 reads 1 time favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I cut all of the parts for the bases over the last couple of weeks, mortise and tenoned all of the rails and legs and rails, and assembled the bases.

Each table used a custom jig for cutting the tapers on the table saw. My hope is to use these again for another commissioned project. They handle 26 1/4” and 28 1/4” legs. Each taper starts 1” below the edge of the rails, ending to a 7/8” taper at the ends.

The sapele really planes well with a sharp low-angle blade. It only took a few swipes with 220 grit to have them finish ready. All of the edges have a small chamfer to prevent dings on the corners.

I love the smell of sapele shavings in the morning. I wonder if there is a cologne with this scent. ;)

Glue-up was a breeze with Gorilla wood glue. 20 minute clamp time got both tables completely assembled in about an hour.

I’m glad my table saw moves easily, I need the space for a glue-up like this.

I never can resist a dry-fit of everything together, just to see how it looks. The contrasts of the purple heart and sapele look really nice.

Here are a few final shots of the pieces after their first coat of wipe-on polyurethane. After about 4-5 coats, the grain is really going to pop. There is some incredible mottling and chatoyance on the hall table top, I’ve never seen this in purple heart.

I’ll post the final finished pieces (higher quality shots) in my project gallery when they are completed. I’m targeting next weekend for delivery to my client, just in time for New Years.

-- Andy Brownell

2 comments so far

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4181 days

#1 posted 12-20-2010 12:19 AM

Andy those are some nice tables.

View Dave's profile


11434 posts in 3348 days

#2 posted 12-28-2010 08:44 AM

Beautiful work . I am fixing to have my first taste of working with sapele. You are the first i have found that is planing not scraping it. Thanks for the read.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

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