koa credenza

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Project by cathyb posted 08-13-2011 09:30 PM 2400 views 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Back in June I attempted one of Andy’s Art boxes. Although that box didn’t come out as planned, I wanted to turn that experience into a useful technique for a different project. It occurred to me that shaping a flat surface really creates an interesting effect. This credenza started as a box on a stand. I built the box, mortised the hinge locations, added two dividers for the walls of my cabinets and then proceeded to attack the whole thing with my grinder. ( As an aside: I purposely made the sides and back 7/8” thick to be sure that I had plenty of material to work with.) I tried for the most part to follow the grain and although the photos don’t really show how deep my grooves are I can tell you they are at least 1/4 of an inch. I did the preliminary shaping of the top before it was attached and then finished the shaping in place. Overall I like this piece for it’s unique organic feel and I do mean “feel”. When you run your fingers along the side, the ripples will make you smile. Instead of a static piece of furniture, it is a tactile piece that you want to touch. To be honest, the wood was expensive and when I took the grinder off the shelf, a little voice inside my head warned, “Please, don’t use the grinder. DON’T DO IT!” There was a pang in my gut when I first started, but I’m glad I chose to ignore it.

I always want to leave you with a woodworking tip: Take a chance, do something different and believe in yourself because it’s only wood.

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

11 comments so far

View degoose's profile


7281 posts in 4406 days

#1 posted 08-13-2011 09:35 PM

Love the tip and the live edge top is fabulous.

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4355 days

#2 posted 08-13-2011 09:39 PM

oh cathy this is a beautiful piece you have done, i love the koa wood and i understand how you must have felt when you got the grinder down…lol…....but your right, its only wood and were here to let our talents and imagination show, and you sure did a great job…wow…your right, i wish i could touch this…thanks for showing this…grizz

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

View jbschutz's profile


610 posts in 3743 days

#3 posted 08-13-2011 10:24 PM

Cathy, I could feel your apprehension when approaching the koa with a grinder. I have brought small pieces of koa back from trips to Hawaii….once a suitcase full, and I find that I plan all my koa projects more carefully than any others…..making sure that I don’t waste or spoil the beautiful wood. I have done only small boxes with koa; the most recent a pen box that you can see on my LJ page. (jbschutz)
I love the organic feel of your cradenza and applaud the courage you exhibit in attacking it with a grinder.

-- jbschutz

View shipwright's profile


8703 posts in 3850 days

#4 posted 08-13-2011 11:42 PM

Such beautiful wood Cathy, and you make it more so.
This one really seems to be some kind of creature to me. I seems alive and in motion.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 4070 days

#5 posted 08-14-2011 03:09 AM

I wish I could run my hands over your piece, it looks wonderfully tactile! I think anyone would have a hard time keeping their hands off and maybe you should rope it off at the show or it will be bare of finish by the end of the show.

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View cathyb's profile


844 posts in 4296 days

#6 posted 08-14-2011 03:28 AM

Ha Ha Ha. That’s funny! Don’t you feel that sometimes you’re so deep in the construction phase that you finish something and actually look at and think, “Hey, not bad kid.”

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 4360 days

#7 posted 08-14-2011 05:35 AM

Excellent piece of work and a real beauty. And to think that so many people think a grinder is for metal working.

View cathyb's profile


844 posts in 4296 days

#8 posted 08-14-2011 11:18 AM

Hi Jonathan,
I used my Bose angle grinder with a “Saburr tooth carbide wheel” (the donut shape) that I purchased from Then I used 3” hook and loop sanding discs used by bowl turners to clean up my tool marks. You can buy those from woodworker’s supply. Make sure that you purchase the SOFT foam disc holders rather than firm, because they will conform to just about any profile and work wonders. I did the final sanding with my Makita random orbital and worked up to 320 grit.
I hope that helps. Have fun.

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 5057 days

#9 posted 08-14-2011 11:40 AM

Really bold move on your part and it paid off big time. Your piece has copious amounts of organic mojo and is a reminder of how texture works on scales we don’t often think about and plays a major role in the aesthetics of the natural world.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View S2artDesigns's profile


112 posts in 3540 days

#10 posted 08-14-2011 07:58 PM

Great lookin piece there. Beautiful all around

-- Visit my Etsy site to see my burl wood jewelry at

View janice's profile


1122 posts in 4477 days

#11 posted 09-07-2011 02:54 AM

Another beautiful piece!

-- Janice

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