Cocobolo and Leopardwood Table w/ Drawer.

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Project by jeth posted 01-31-2016 12:04 AM 2669 views 6 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

First up I should probably say hello to one and all, I have not been active on the forum for a looong time, several years I guess… I was without a workshop for a while and offline for longer but have now put that right so thought I’d drop by and share a recent project. I’m not sure who is still around and if anyone will remember me as I was never the most active of members, but it’s good to see the forum still growing and lots of great projects and info as ever.. good to be back!

This is a small table with drawer, as you can see.. When I finally got a new workshop together I did this as a kind of “in at the deep end” no holds barred project to get myself into the swing and indulge myself in a demanding project. I try to make a living working wood so it’s rare to be able to build something with so much detail, unless I do it for myself and accept that nobody down here is ever likely to pay me anything like the time it cost.

The table is constructed from, well, I’ll call them Cocobolo, known round here as Granadillo, and Leopardwood, names for different woods tend to change from one area to another so hard to be exact but the “Cocobolo” is defo some form of Dalbergia and the Leopardwood I am almost 100% sure to be Roupala montana. These are both locally grown woods, but not common in this area. The Leopardwood I found being used for bed slats (shock horror) in a friends workshop and I was given a small board of the Cocobolo.
The drawer bottom is Spanish Cedar, a common local species, for that aromatic whiff on opening the drawer.

The Cocobolo board was about 2 board feet and had a lot of shakes and other faults.. The sapwood shows some spalting which adds to the interest. I considered using it for a box or other small item but felt it a shame as this is not wood I would get to work too often so set out to spread it around and make something a bit more substantial. This meant shop sawing thickish veneer for the top and skirt panels and the drawer front.. I just got enough pieces so had to proceed with care as no replacement parts to be had.
A small offcut became a sculpted drawer pull which alines with the heart/sapwood line on the drawer front, as if it had grown out of it.
I was very happy with the finished panels.. the heartwood and sapwood appear as some mysterious landscape with the spalting looking like ink line details.

The Leopardwood is best known for the ray pattern visible on QS stock but I wanted to almost avoid that as the Cocobolo panels were to be the focus and so took advantage of the tight straight grain shown on anything but a perfect QS section to frame up the panels. I just got a peek of the ray figure on the bevels on the frames around the panels, which I think worked out quite nicely. I had a piece with a nice purplish line snaking through it so faffed about to get that line to meet up at the four corners of the top panels frame.

From there the design just kind of developed around the panels. A lot of firsts for me here, first dovetails, first gunstock joints on the lower/rail to leg joinery… just making the most of this self indulgent project really!

16 comments so far

View recycle1943's profile


7014 posts in 3084 days

#1 posted 01-31-2016 01:15 AM

The blending of wood and incorporating the spalted in strategic places makes ( for me) a piece of eye candy with calories galore.
The top is without words -

I see a top 3 in the near future – tomorrow ?

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - my biggest fear is that when I die, my wife sells my toys for what I told her I paid for them

View AJ1104's profile


1547 posts in 3121 days

#2 posted 01-31-2016 02:31 AM

Gorgeous piece of furniture. Great proportions and your wood selection is crazy. Welcome back!

-- AJ

View gimmo's profile


39 posts in 3344 days

#3 posted 01-31-2016 01:40 PM

a beautiful piece of the mixture of wood

-- Stan, Southville, Ky

View RobD's profile


61 posts in 5057 days

#4 posted 01-31-2016 02:25 PM

Wow – Looks Great!

View david38's profile


3518 posts in 3806 days

#5 posted 01-31-2016 02:56 PM


View hoss12992's profile


4181 posts in 3355 days

#6 posted 01-31-2016 04:28 PM

That is really cool. Great job

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View Gary's profile


1551 posts in 5786 days

#7 posted 01-31-2016 07:16 PM

Nice details such as on the apron/leg joint.
And the carved handle—sweet finish.

-- Gary, Florida

View jeth's profile


262 posts in 4300 days

#8 posted 01-31-2016 07:24 PM

Thanks for all the comments folks. Down here there are few people who really appreciate this kind of work and I had forgotten how good it is to get some positive feedback, feeling inspired by that so grateful for your thoughts.

I have pretty much the whole construction process in photos so I might be convinced to blog them if anyone’s interested.

View Ub1chris's profile


133 posts in 2842 days

#9 posted 01-31-2016 08:46 PM

Would love to see a blog. Especially interested in the gunstock joint. Beautiful wood and you surely did it justice.

View jeth's profile


262 posts in 4300 days

#10 posted 01-31-2016 09:07 PM

Ok, will try to get some pics up, maybe later this evening… thanks again for your comments..nothing like a virtual pat on the back to inspire us in the shop!

View Ken90712's profile


18113 posts in 4651 days

#11 posted 01-31-2016 11:02 PM

Great looking table, well done.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View jeth's profile


262 posts in 4300 days

#12 posted 02-01-2016 05:22 PM

Have started a blog to share the process pics of this build for those who expressed an interest.. you can find it here

First 2 parts up and more to come…

View ravensrock's profile


518 posts in 3105 days

#13 posted 02-06-2016 10:44 PM

That’s some beautiful wood. I especially like what you did with the drawer pull. Very impressive piece!

-- Dave, York, PA, Wildside Woodworking

View celts's profile


2 posts in 2430 days

#14 posted 02-06-2016 10:53 PM

Beautiful table. I especially appreciate the dove tails in the drawer. Adds a nice pop.

Question regarding the table top. Since you’re using so many woods, how did you plan to preventing bending of the wood or the wood frame bursting? I’m a newbie and trying to figure this stuff out.

View jeth's profile


262 posts in 4300 days

#15 posted 02-06-2016 11:14 PM

thanks for your comments..

Celts, you can see exactly how I went about the construction here where I have blogged the construction process of this table. The panel in the top is veneered, so it’s just a thin (about 1/16”) layer of Cocobolo stuck over a laminate made of two layers of 3/16” ply and a layer of hardwood veneer to “balance” it on the backside. This was done mainly due to only having a minimal amount of Cocobolo to work with but it also helps to avoid problems such as warping and movement induced frame bursting that you mention.
If it were solid wood I would have to leave it floating in the grooves on the frame and be careful when gluing to make sure it would be able to expand and contract within those grooves. Basically that means making sure it’s not stuck to the frame at all, just contained in the grooves.
Plywood doesn’t expand and contract considerably due to the cross ply construction (the grain in each layer runs perpendicular to the grain in its neighbours) so you can forget about those problems.
Although I didn’t expect wood movement to cause a problem for the reasons just explained I like to reinforce my mitres anyway as end grain doesn’t glue well and the joint could be fragile, if you look you can see that there are splines in each corner. You can see in the blog how i used the router and a jig to cut slots for those splines after assembling the frame and panel.

Hope that helps, the fact that you asked those questions shows you already have an understanding of some of the most important stuff! And those dovetails were my first attempt ever so you can see, woodwork is always full of beginnings, and we will always be “beginners” in a sense…

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