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Project Information

On a recent driving trip to South Florida, I managed to purchase a 6/4 thick, 7' long slab of Cuban mahogany with two live edges, with spalting along each edge. I turned it into the coffee table pictured. I made one leg of the table by cutting off a portion of the board and jointing it back on at 90 degrees. The joinery is through dovetails that are mitered along the outer edges so the spalting flows around the corner continuously. A friend who volunteers at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis provided the picture of leaves and flowers of a Cuban mahogany tree, and these were used to paint a representation of them flowing around the folded edge. The finish I used is 3 coats of shellac, 3 coats of urathane oil top coat, and one coat of polycrystalline wax. Dimensions: height 17", length 54", width varies between 18" and 15".

Gallery

Comments

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stunning
stunning
stunning. I really love this.. wow.
 

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Nice slab put to good use!
 

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This is one of the nicest benches I have ever saw. The woodworking is awsome and the painting is very nice addition. Who painted the leaves ?
 

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The painting of the leaves was done by a neighbor of mine, Joy S. She has painted some other projects of mine. I made four hammered dulcimers, and Joy painted birds and branches on the soundboards. I also made a sundial that showed date lines for the birthdays of my sons and wife, and Joy painted some branches and leaves on it-that sundial showed only noon time but the paintings have faded badly due to sun exposure. Joy is quite a women. She's about as old as me-and that's pretty old-but very active, raising dogs, chickens, honey bees, etc., and making quilts and various things (I don't know what else to call them) out of wax. Those she sells at a local 'farmers' market. Joy is a very nice lady with a lot of talent.
To answer 'BlueStingrayBoots' question about the weight of the table, I just pulled out my bathroom scale. It's not callibrated, so this is just an estimate. The coffee table weighs 35 pounds. That's about 1/3 Joy and about 1/5 me.
 

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I really like the natural edge on the table. The craftsmanship is great….
 

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Great design with the flowing natural edge. That is a great implementation of your design. The other leg what is it.
 

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Beautiful work!

...but aren't Cuban products illegal in the US? Or is Cuban Mahogany a variety of Mahogany that can be grown in other places?
 

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This is a beautiful bench. I like the width of it. jockmike
 

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Thanks, once again, for all the positive comments. In reply to Dr_Unix and the question about the 'legality of Cuban products,' Cuban mahogany (i.e., swietenia mahogoni) is a type of mahogany tree that grows in South Florida. I don't know how abundent it is, but a woodworker there told me it may be a protected tree. The wood sometimes becomes available after hurricanes. I obtained the board from the Woodcraft store in Ft. Lauderdale. Ft. Lauderdale did suffer a heavy duty hurricane last year. Maybe the board originated from a tree downed in that storm, but I have no way to know. I have seen several other Cuban mahogany boards at that Woodcraft store, so boards of that type do not seem too difficult to purchase from reputable suppliers. It isn't imported from Cuba. That Woodcraft store does seem to have a lot of interesting boards of various local species for sale, so it is worth a stop to take a look if you happen to get in the vicinity. It's located on Federal Hwy near Commercial Blvd.
To answer Karson's question, the other leg is also mahogany but not from the same tree. I happened to attend a meeting of the South Florida Woodworking Guild on an evening when a member was giving away some mahogany boards. The leg is made from one of those boards. That Guild welcomes visitors to their meetings, so attend one if you get the chance. They meet once a month at the same Woodcraft store.
 

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St.Louis - the more I look at this the more I appreciate it. I like the detail of mitering where the half-pin would typically be. Never would have thought about that! How did you join the other leg under the table?
 

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Very nice work, SLW.

I like the mitered dovetail. I don a few myself and they sure add sophistication to an already attractive joint.

Interesting how you introduced this project as a coffee table but a number of LJ's have called it a bench. I suppose it could serve either purpose.
 

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amazing…i love the color…and the edges…
 

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In response to Dorje's question. I made and used some small L-shaped blocks of cherry wood. I then routed a dado on each face of the second leg, near the top of the leg. The small lip of the block goes into the dado, and the block is then screwed to the bottom face of the table top. I took a picture that would make this much clearer, but I haven't figured out how to imbed it in this comment. There is also a support rail between the two legs. It is located adjacent to the bottom of the table top, attached to the legs with mortice & tenon joints, and attached with blocks to the bottom face of the table top in the same way I used for the second leg. Thanks for your question and positive comment.
 

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Just beautiful work. Thanks for sharing and for writing up the details.
 

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Very nice. I like the live edges and your joinery. Great work.
 

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Great design, Dug
 

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Just came up on the roll the dice feature….That is the nicest coffee table that I've ever seen! You didn't miss a beat on that wonderful dovetailed end : ) Happy New Year !
 
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