Some customers you see only at the beginning and end of a project, and some regularly bring coffee. It is very gratifying to have a client who enjoys the whole experience, from design to delivery, and everything in the middle. This design was a real challenge. For starters they wanted a "surfboard" shaped top. For practical purposes we then widened it. Secondly their dining room was a raised split-level, thus the table base would be head high. They were hoping for a visually stimulating base with a clean underside. Lastly, they wanted a dramatic grain pattern to add elegance to the room. They were very adamant about their desire for ebony, so I focused on a complementary wood.
After meeting at a local exotic hardwood supply store and imagining the possibilities, we selected a large chunk of Cocobolo (Rosewood) 6" x 10" x 55". Game on. I spent the next few days resawing 1/8" x 6" veneers thru a band saw. In all I had 52 veneers with which to make the entire table, more then enough. This technique (resawing) allows me to "stretch" the wood and get excellent color and grain match, yet it is three to four times thicker then standard veneers, offering far greater protection on the top and legs. While this technique is more labor intensive, the benefits can far outweigh the costs, and the "green factor", sustainability, is often reason enough by itself. Once the resawn veneers had cured, I laid out some grain patterns to see what most pleased the client.
We also decided to alter the width of the ebony border as it encompassed the table. With all the perpendicular grain directions on the border and legs, there was plenty of joining and shaping to fit the approximately six hundred pieces of veneer. The result was just what we were hoping for. We couldn't have been more thrilled. More then a few things were learned on this project and there might be a few things I'd do differently, but all in all it was an incredibly satisfying experience.
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