Fruits of My Passion

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Project by cathyb posted 01-04-2010 07:44 AM 2748 views 1 time favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve been busy working on my house for the past month, but I finally finished this pair of koa tables. This is what I did: I made the cabriole legs and instead of padded foot I created sort of a paw (not a hairy paw-just a paw). As an added element I shaped the aprons with a french curve. The tops are scalloped and that should have been the end of it, but not so fast.

I have found that the more expensive the wood; the more difficult it is to work. That koa on the top is curly and I paid $45 a board foot. The legs came out fine. The aprons were straight forward. How hard can it be to add a top? I had this curly wood which was 11 inches wide and I resawed it and ran it through my belt sander. It was flat- that is until I came into the shop the next day. Here’s the thing, if I hadn’t paid so much money for that wood, I would have selected another piece of wood and be done with it…
I took a second piece of curly koa, which was not quite wide enough, but just as curly. Resawed it, sanded it, glued it together and attached it to the table. Then I took my original top, sanded it, glued it together and then cut kerfs every 1 1/2” on the underside to get that contemptible thing flat. Then I glued it to the secondary top- a this point I was literally going for broke! An amazing thing happened IT ACTUALLY WORKED!!!!!! Yes, I know it was supposed to work, but it actually DID work.

I thought I’d share that gut wrenching experience, because if something like that hasn’t happened to you yet, just wait… will. Still I’m loving the challenge.


It only took three months, but I finally got over to the gallery to take a photo of the leg. Here is another take on the Fruits of My Passion.

-- cathyb, Hawaii

20 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118322 posts in 5029 days

#1 posted 01-04-2010 07:50 AM

View Don's profile


517 posts in 4525 days

#2 posted 01-04-2010 08:08 AM

Beautifull tables. I hope your going to post some close ups so we can see the tops and the legs in more detail.

-- Don - I wood work if I could. Redmond WA.

View Abe Low's profile

Abe Low

111 posts in 5298 days

#3 posted 01-04-2010 08:09 AM

You are right. The more expensive the wood, the more difficult to work and the more stressful it is. On the other hand, the beauty of the wood makes ALMOST any project special. The first furniture I built was in 1960, made out of walnut plywood. Basically just slabs screwed together. No skill or fancy jointery. Looked great. Only I knew it was nothing to be proud of.
Now your tables are another thing. Great in every aspect.

-- Abe Low, Fine furniture, Sacramento, CA

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 4722 days

#4 posted 01-04-2010 09:03 AM

Awesome job….beautiful wood…excellent design…a pair of winners.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View KayBee's profile


1083 posts in 4699 days

#5 posted 01-04-2010 09:33 AM

Stunning tables and wood. I second the close ups, they would be great. It’s nice when things go perfect, but… Great feeling when you handle it when they don’t. Glad you’re having fun doing it!

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

View Jimi_C's profile


507 posts in 4687 days

#6 posted 01-04-2010 10:22 AM

I’m interested in the why behind the snafu… did you let the koa acclimate to the shop before working it? Also, did you mill the wood down in two stages (get it close with the jointer/planer, let it acclimate another day, then mill to final dimensions)? I’ve read that milling the wood releases internal stresses, which can cause it to warp.

Nice save though, I had not heard of that method for fixing a cupped top. Did you stop the kerfs so they wouldn’t show on the edge, or did you apply molding to cover up the egress in the edges?

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"

View dustbunny's profile


1149 posts in 4748 days

#7 posted 01-04-2010 12:32 PM

Gorgeous !
I like what you’ve done with the legs,
especially the feet.

Great work !!


-- Imagination rules the world. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte ~

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 5699 days

#8 posted 01-04-2010 02:43 PM

Absolutely gorgeous. It is a true work of art. Amazing.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Monty Queen's profile

Monty Queen

1600 posts in 4704 days

#9 posted 01-04-2010 06:14 PM

Awesome job on those tables, you did a great job.

-- Monty Q, Columbia, South Carolina.

View cathyb's profile


860 posts in 4696 days

#10 posted 01-04-2010 06:15 PM

Hi Jim,
As a rule, I let koa sit for 4 to 6 months before I touch it. The problem with koa, in my opinion, is that there are some sawyers out there who just don’t know how to dry wood properly. This koa came from a new source, so I should have been more careful. It is most likely that the board was case hardened, that is drier on the outside than the inside, because he tried to get it to market too soon.
I have to fault myself for not ripping those 11” boards in two and creating a 4 board top, but I really didn’t want to interrupt the flow of my book-matched top. ( Note to self:don’t you ever do that again!)
The kerfs were not the entire length, just shy of the width of the koa subtop. I did not add trim. The subtop is visable, but since it’s the same grain, it actually looks like a profile. I cut the kerfs with my router and that took some time. My reasoning behind that decision was this: I have observed that no matter how unruly a board is that if you cut it thin enough you can do anything you want as a laminate. In essence, I wanted to create a two-ply laminate and somehow make the top thinner without removing stock from the edge. The top is actually 3/4” thick. My kerfs were a full 3/8” to 1/2” deep to take the tension out of the wood. It looked like a wash board when I was done. In addition I screwed and then glued the top to the subtop with epoxy.
When it was finished, I set it aside for a month. So far, it is as flat as can be. It was a headache-my fault…....

-- cathyb, Hawaii

View majeagle1's profile


1429 posts in 4949 days

#11 posted 01-04-2010 08:25 PM

Just a gorgeous table and design…...... love that koa wood!!!!!!

What an ingenious way to save a project, congratulations.

You do beautiful work, can’t wait to see more.

-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks,,

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4787 days

#12 posted 01-04-2010 08:45 PM

Wonderful tables and I like your unique touch with the paw feet. I agree that tried and true is the best way to go on wood supplies, but, as Margaret Thatcher said “fortune favors the brave”. You did a great recovery though and got a fantastic result. That Koa is very beautiful wood. Great woodworking!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Loucarb's profile


2388 posts in 4898 days

#13 posted 01-04-2010 10:46 PM

Fantastic job well worth the hassle.

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4756 days

#14 posted 01-04-2010 11:25 PM

i don’t care what anyone say’s…that koa is just down right beautiful…you did a great save and did just what it needed..good save and now they look just marvelous… autumn said …strut them feathers…lol….....

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4567 days

#15 posted 01-05-2010 11:05 PM

great looking tables


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