Nakashima style Coffee Table Mid Century Modern Walnut

  • Advertise with us
Project by TexPenn posted 04-19-2011 05:50 PM 5763 views 4 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Mid Century Modern Walnut Nakashima style Coffee Table. 21 wide 48 long 20 tall Walnut with hand cut & inlaid walnut butterflys. Black powdercoat hairpin legs to complete the Mid Century Modern look. Spar urethane finish.
I had an order for a walnut table. After completion I sent off the final pics & the customer hit the roof!!! She did not expect or want the butterflies that some people pay extra for or request even if the piece doesnt warrent them. Totally cool with me! I had the other end of the 12’ walnut slab that had no checks or cracks & within a day or 2 I had another happy customer & an extra table loaded with character & Butterflies!!! This piece & others can be seen in my eBay & etsy stores & on my website:

-- Ted, TX or PA

10 comments so far

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3390 days

#1 posted 04-19-2011 06:19 PM

That is a nice table, I like the hairpin legs very 60’s.

You cant keep em all happy,


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View a1Jim's profile


117738 posts in 4110 days

#2 posted 04-19-2011 06:53 PM

Well done

View learnin2do's profile


891 posts in 3385 days

#3 posted 04-19-2011 07:26 PM

That is so very beautiful! -You should come butterfly my walnut slabs!!!

-- ~christine @ used2btrees

View Jerry's profile


80 posts in 3686 days

#4 posted 04-19-2011 07:30 PM

I really like the leg choice too. Very functional without detracting or adding to the focus. Walnut has to be one of my favorite woods to work with and look at.

-- "The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives should be a Store, Not a Govt. Agency"

View Napoleon's profile


788 posts in 3342 days

#5 posted 04-19-2011 08:46 PM

Thats AWESOME Tex ! really a nice table,i am going to make a table for the livingroom and the plan was oak,but now i have to think twice :)

-- Boatbuilder&blacksmith

View Ken90712's profile


17779 posts in 3722 days

#6 posted 04-20-2011 12:52 PM

What kit or jig do you use for the butterfly’s I need to by the kit…. I have read that you use a down spiral bit correct? Any info would be great. Thx

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

View TexPenn's profile


459 posts in 4221 days

#7 posted 04-20-2011 01:59 PM

Kit? Jig? LOLOLOL NOT. These are hand cut ~ Freehand with a router, & chiseled in the corners. Just like the Son of George Nakashima explained it to me. Sears has a dog bone looking Jig kit for a router. I dont use any kit. If you want sharp corners you have to custom make each one, & do it by hand.

-- Ted, TX or PA

View Ken90712's profile


17779 posts in 3722 days

#8 posted 04-20-2011 05:49 PM

Ahhhh,,, well its time I practice before I try it on a 2 inch thick top that I’m putting on my Entertainment Center.. LOL

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

View TexPenn's profile


459 posts in 4221 days

#9 posted 04-20-2011 07:36 PM

YES ~ practice, practice, Practice!!!!! When I first started all I knew was I wanted, no, needed some butterfly action in my pieces. Before I got my mill & all I used to hand cut 30” wide X 3” thick & 10’ long freehand with a chainsaw. & a 16” bar & 50 cc saw at that. I knew what I wanted, didnt know how to get it, & ended up getting it any way I could…. Mucho Labor cutting 1/2 way through a giant maple log 6 or 8 times, then roll it over & try to line up the cuts for some really funky slabs. They were great pieces & all got my business up & running… Same thing with the butterflies. When I first started making log & slab furniture I had never heard of George Nakashima, but had seen butterflies around. The oldest I have seen is on a boat from egypt 3700 years ago they used them to hold the hull planks together. So like the slabs, I knew I wanted butterflies & had exactly no idea of how to go about it. My first ones took all day for 1 & were atleast 7.25 long, so I could cit them with a skillsaw. I was totally wrong & totally doing it bass akwards. I drew it out on the slab, Cut it with the skillsaw, finished the cuts with a sawzall, (did I mention I was a life long framer of custom homes?) Then traced the butterfly & try to get it to fit as best as I could. They went all the way through & were anything but easy. Then I cought on to G. Nakashima (the butterfly king & my hero) & his tricks. My wife & I had to deliver a piece to NYC & on the way back stopped at the Nakashima shop & spread for the self guided tour…. WAY AORTH IT!! Near the end, in the conoid studio sitting in a conoid chair was george’s son Kevin.
He lined me out & I have been using that method ever since. Here are a few clues…. They are 3/8 thick… Most of mine are anyway. (his too) & the main clue is…. Make the butterfly first & then inlay it into the slab. Now I can whoop one in in less than an hour. I had an order for a 12’ hickory table that had somewhere around 15 butterflies & I did them all in one day. You will also need a super sharp chisel & utility knife. I use a 3/8 straight bit in the router. & it helps to clear the mind of garbage. If you have any questions drop me a email & I will try to help. Thanks & goodluck!!!! Ted.

-- Ted, TX or PA

View WRAAdesign's profile


46 posts in 2932 days

#10 posted 11-04-2011 11:47 PM

Wow, thanks for sharing your great work. George Nakashima was such an amazing designer.


Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics