Incidental Fermat Projects #2: New and plain

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Blog entry by vipond33 posted 11-17-2012 05:44 PM 6742 reads 0 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: "which this margin is too small to contain" Part 2 of Incidental Fermat Projects series Part 3: Old and Weird »

Finished this week and installed yesterday. A boardroom table in walnut with elliptical ends, aluminum laminate bases and solid aluminum inlay. Stained a teak colour (ugh).

20ft x 6ft. About 175 hrs. There is a much smaller one (same bases) in an adjacent room (not pictured) with no wood top (just glass) done at the same time. A parenthesis if you will.

My new general rule is that curved work takes 3x as long as straight and tapered curved stuff takes 5x as long. The five bases took forever to construct and were a real chore to make accurately.

This was made for a local real estate brokerage and supplies the great proof as to why I can’t afford a new house. To wit, I make things like this, for people like them.







Construction details:
Joint testing mockup

Solid trimming with a top mask on our sophisticated sled.

Clamp-up. The weird device is a marking tool I devised for laying out cutting angles on curves. Always perpendicular.

Drum base construction. Kerf ply over flex ply.


-- [email protected] : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

19 comments so far

View gbear's profile


545 posts in 5595 days

#1 posted 11-17-2012 05:50 PM

Wow Gene…that is one gorgeous table. I can’t imagine all the work that went into something so big and so
beautiful. The bookmarking is wonderful as is the aluminum inlay. Great job!

-- gbear, Carmichael, CA

View Bluepine38's profile


3393 posts in 4581 days

#2 posted 11-17-2012 06:24 PM

Great looking table from a lot of sweat and craftsmanship. If you charged for the table like they charge for
their real estate, you could buy the land, and build the house in all the time you do not have left over thanks
to projects like this. Thank you for sharing.

-- As ever, Gus-the 83 yr young apprentice carpenter

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2172 posts in 4347 days

#3 posted 11-17-2012 07:46 PM

This may be the most fascinating project I have ever seen on LJ. Thank you vipond for sharing it.

I especially like the rotisserie you created for making the pedestals Brilliant.

A couple questions if you don’t mind:

Could you speak a little about the aluminum trim in the edging?

How is the aluminum adhered to the pedestal? Was it preformed in some way?

Thanks again for letting us have this glimpse of a beautiful piece wrapped in shop genius.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View MJCD's profile


628 posts in 3867 days

#4 posted 11-17-2012 11:36 PM

Wow: how does one ever obtain this much talent and expertise??

View Roger's profile


21055 posts in 4300 days

#5 posted 11-17-2012 11:57 PM

Holy Moly. That is one big-__ table! And, a beauty to boot.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View balidoug's profile


536 posts in 3975 days

#6 posted 11-18-2012 12:48 AM

As I stumble around in my little shop, trying to figure out simple problems like getting two corners square, I find it vital to stumble upon projects like this one. “If our reach does not exceed our grasp, what are the stars for?”

-- From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. Immanuel Kant

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 3857 days

#7 posted 11-18-2012 12:52 AM

Nice work, but I think I would have suggested cut down 55 gallon drums with a pearl auto lacquer finish.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 5378 days

#8 posted 11-18-2012 02:20 AM

Dang. That is a whole different world than the one I live it.

Gene, that is just wonderful. What a clever dude you are.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View chopnhack's profile


375 posts in 3890 days

#9 posted 11-18-2012 02:35 AM

Am I the only one that believes SPalm to be vipond33’s twin??

Anyways, nice work Gene, you may not care for it, but it the customer wants…
How did you level the aluminum to the table top?

-- Sneaking up on the line....

View vipond33's profile


1405 posts in 3994 days

#10 posted 11-18-2012 02:56 AM

Lee, the material is Octolam laid down with 3M’s water based contact cement. Both are beautiful products though expensive.

We had a choice at plan stage between pure aluminum sheets or phenolic backed. I was concerned about broad based kinking because of the cone shape (which could never be corrected), so we opted for the laminate. It had its own problem in that the extra stiffness always working on the tight top radius might spring loose the joint over time.

The original plan called for invisible joints, discarded, which was changed to a 1/8” x 1/8” walnut inlay, put in slightly proud with micro radiused edges (as in, who’s ever going to notice). Flooded with Titebond, semi rigid clamped and cleaned up. I sold the designer by saying it would look like seamed stockings.

The inlay at edge is anodized 1/8” x 3/16” cut down for two from 1/2”. Veneer edges were routed prior to fit up then cleaned to perfect depth after gluing on solid edges with a router plane.
Cones are tough.

Thanks everyone for your interest and nice words.

-- [email protected] : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

View vipond33's profile


1405 posts in 3994 days

#11 posted 11-18-2012 03:29 AM

@Chopnhack . The bases are on levelers with a 1” x 36” BB plate fastened above, double notched for the solid wood laminate clad beam. There is a 1/2” full width and length sub top over that, tension screwed into the veneered board.
The table is level and straight though not at its very best as it sits on an engineered floor.

-- [email protected] : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

View shipwright's profile


8821 posts in 4294 days

#12 posted 11-18-2012 04:51 AM

Hey Gene, Can’t say I’m crazy about the table but the workmanship is top notch.

Gene 10 /10 :-) Excellent

Designer 3 /10 :-( Sorry, no soul.

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

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 3857 days

#13 posted 11-19-2012 01:11 PM

This piece seems to be way outside the box of your personal projects, which are marked by simplicity and refinement. I find this table to be a garish jumble of uncomplementary design elements. I think fellow LJ’s would be interested in your view.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View S4S's profile


2118 posts in 4177 days

#14 posted 11-19-2012 10:24 PM

Yes I would be interested in your view also . Please tell me your view . Please tell ,do tell , I so want to know . I would have done the whole thing in Octolam and then trimmed it with walnut . It would have reflected all the natural and florescent light in a hideous and garish way that is not found outside of roadside diners and commercial kitchens ,......perfect for the boardroom . Temporary blindness is unavoidable in business dealings ..The thing I like about big tables is the amount of stuff you can set on them in a horizontal fashion ; that is a big plus . : ) Nice job , literally .

View vipond33's profile


1405 posts in 3994 days

#15 posted 11-20-2012 12:36 AM

Clint, I quite agree with you, yet bear in mind – it is not my design. Here’s the story and my view.

A “designer” that sometimes employs us saw a picture of a table like this in a design / architectural magazine. She copied it and gave us her drawing. We (I) were technically appalled (aesthetically too, but mute) and forced some changes. The bases were much too small (unstable), the ends were half-assed racetrack (unlovely), and the inlay was 3/8” wide as spec’d (un-doable). All else we lived with save the base seams as mentioned above.

As built, it is as good as it gets for the scale involved – the 82” centre seams and all solid joints are flawless. Dead smooth with no blemishes or marks (not a one) and a uniform finish too. I’d say that’s pretty good shooting for close to 200 square feet of difficult material.

In the end the “designer” was thrilled (naturally), the client was ecstatic and I made about $6k. So what’s not to like here seeing as no one else is involved in its view save LJ’s? For the average LJ it’s little more than an insight that I offer into what small custom shops do on a scale that they would probably never face. Interesting but plain, just like the title says. Technically challenging too.
If it had been my design I think I would have inlaid a six foot dollar sign in the top and also had dollar signs partially protruding from the bases with LED chasers – just to remind them why they were sitting there.

Why then did I build it? Well, “temporary blindness is unavoidable in business dealings” nu?

-- [email protected] : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

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