Glad that’s finished!

Who’d thunk that a simple little hall table would present such a challenge?  But it did.  Truth is, when you’re working without a set of dimensional rules, it can be difficult to achieve “flow and balance”. Prototyping becomes a requirement.  If nothing else, this project proved to Les, Scott and me that the skill of someone like Nakashima can’t be overstated.


The Bocote top was filled, finished with blonde shellac, then waxed.  Several checks were “stopped” with Pearwood “butterflies.”  The construction is traditional, utilizing mortise and tenon and sliding dovetail joints, which made for a very strong, rigid base.  A small chamfer at the bottom of each leg increases the sense of “lightness” (and could prove very useful if, at some point, “leveling” is required).  The Ash base was finished with several coats of boiled linseed oil (BLO), which gives the wood a beautiful light “golden” hue.  We opted not to stain or glaze the base, as this would have accentuated the “grainny” nature of the ash and we wanted the base to compliment, not compete with the top.

I, for one, doff my hat to those crafts people who consistently and artistically work in the “chaos of contemporary”.  It’s like “flying without a net.”  I think I’ll return to the “disciplined comfort” of period furniture for awhile.  But…a little chaos, now and then, might not be a bad thing.


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2 Comments on “Glad that’s finished!”

  1. Jack Plane Says:

    It worked, finally!

    Fabulous work Les & Co. I see why you asked me about the use of oil on ash – the colour you’ve achieved is beautifully mellow… very English.

    I went through a phase of making and selling contemporary furniture during which I would try and convince myself I enjoyed it, but it was the process I enjoyed rather than the finished article. I felt more of a fraud making contemporary stuff than making seventeenth- and eighteenth-century fakes.

    Welcome back to the fold: what’s next?

  2. Les Elsie Says:

    What’s next is a clean up of old, unfinished projects. That includes a Spanish footed Tavern table, a set of Chippendale dining chairs, another child’s high chair, some whatnot boxes for grandchildren and, of course, a highboy all but done but drawers. All sitting around wasting space and virtually finished other than some clean up and detail work. You may ask, “Why – get ’em done.” I think Jack may have the answer – the journey is far more interesting than the finished product. Unfortunately, age may also be a factor.

    New stuff we are planning and which may well wind up in a similar situation includes a few Bannister backed chairs, an adaptation of a classy marble topped hall table which sold at Christies for 150K+, and an Irish desk which was inspired by posts on Pegs and ‘Tails blog.

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