Mahogany 18th century tilt-top 'pie crust' tea table

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Project by bbrown posted 07-01-2014 03:14 PM 3845 views 5 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I used Potassium Dichromate to emphasize the nice tannin streaks in the mahogany.

This project is based on a piece at the Wintertur Museum in northern Delaware, close to my childhood home of Malvern, PA.

I need some better photos as well as a close up of the pie-crust molding. One of these days I’ll try to improve on my cheap digital camera shots.

Thanks for looking.

God bless,

-Wm. Brown Forest, VA

-- Traditional Woodworking & Carving classes at my shop in Coastal Maine:

20 comments so far

View RogerBean's profile


1605 posts in 3839 days

#1 posted 07-01-2014 03:16 PM

Magnificent piece. My compliments.

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30568 posts in 3223 days

#2 posted 07-01-2014 04:19 PM

Exceptional work. Looks great.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View BenR's profile


341 posts in 3513 days

#3 posted 07-01-2014 05:08 PM

Very beautiful. The finish turned out great. Now I have to look up potassium dichromate, and how to use it.

-- Ben in Va

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6872 posts in 4865 days

#4 posted 07-01-2014 06:55 PM

Great job.

One of these days I’ll finish the one I have that’s 95% complete.

Maybe this will inspire me.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Scott R. Turner's profile

Scott R. Turner

273 posts in 4074 days

#5 posted 07-01-2014 08:22 PM

Fabulous work.

View AandCstyle's profile


3287 posts in 3142 days

#6 posted 07-01-2014 11:17 PM

That is an instant heirloom. I can’t even imagine the number of hours you have into it. Thanks for sharing.

-- Art

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 3177 days

#7 posted 07-02-2014 02:45 AM

Beautiful work—every aspect is extremely well crafted.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View CharlieM1958's profile


16289 posts in 5103 days

#8 posted 07-02-2014 01:26 PM

Very impressive piece!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View bbrown's profile


350 posts in 4437 days

#9 posted 07-02-2014 01:49 PM

Thanks to all for the kind comments. Lee, I agree about completing projects – I am famous for stalling at the 90% point.

Re. the Potassium Dichromate: it is poisonous so just don’t drink it :)

I use it sort of like aniline dye: add a little powder to hot water (I get mine almost to boiling in a microwave, then add a pinch of powder). I just rag it on, wearing gloves. It instantly turns any tannin streaks black and really creates a nice contrast. It will look dull and chalky (just like aniline dye will) but when a topcoat is applied the colour will really be dramatic.

HillbillyShooter, I like your LJ name and GW quote.

-- Traditional Woodworking & Carving classes at my shop in Coastal Maine:

View XrayJay's profile


272 posts in 2864 days

#10 posted 07-02-2014 07:06 PM

Beautiful work and finish looks great. Ball and claw feet are a personal favorite.

-- Whatever you find to do with your hands, do it with all your might,... because there is no work in the grave...Ecclesiastes 9:10

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3584 posts in 4598 days

#11 posted 07-03-2014 05:07 AM


She’s a real beauty! What an heirloom!


-- “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin -- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View bbrown's profile


350 posts in 4437 days

#12 posted 07-08-2014 12:57 AM

Thanks very much XrayJ and LWLlefty.

-- Traditional Woodworking & Carving classes at my shop in Coastal Maine:

View chobbs66's profile


42 posts in 4435 days

#13 posted 07-08-2014 05:24 PM

Nicely done. I have a pie crust tea table on my to do list – hopefully in the relatively near future. Built one back in 2004 and I have learned a lot since then.

Yours is very good and I like how you captured good period appropriate feet. CH

View bbrown's profile


350 posts in 4437 days

#14 posted 07-13-2014 12:17 PM

Thanks a lot Cal,

Really appreciate the encouraging comments.

These were some of the first carved “ball and claw” type feet I have done, and it took forever to carve them. I’m doing a John Elliott type stool now with Phila. ball and claw feet and it’s easier going. Repetition is key but that’s hard when I get so little time in the shop and it takes many months to complete a project.

-- Traditional Woodworking & Carving classes at my shop in Coastal Maine:

View groovy_man_6's profile


148 posts in 3885 days

#15 posted 06-16-2015 06:33 PM

bbrown, this is one of the finest examples I have ever seen on lumberjocks. It is absolutely spectacular—the pie crust molding, the (apparently) single board top, the nice carved ball claw feet, birdcage… it’s just all around stunning. I would be honored to have a piece of furniture this beautiful in my house.

Keep the the spectacular work!—Also that William & Mary spice cabinet absolutely BLEW MY MIND. I’ve been wanting to make something in this style for so long and haven’t gotten around to it yet. I’m so excited to give it a try – Your piece again is nothing short of spectacular.

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