Quilted Mahogany Top

Sam Blasco

Member
Messages
359
Location
Smithville, TX
I know it has been awhile since you all have heard from me last, but I've been working three jobs, not to mention this too. Needless to say the gallery area of my shop is still in the just get er done stage, but I do have a couple of pieces made for the wall. I don't want to add anything to the shop tour thread until it is ready. And then there is this. A storied piece of wood, and I'll leave the story part to Alex, since it is his wood. My part in this story starts when I saw Alex trying to put a finish on this with a rag and some poly with one light bulb hanging on a wire. When he told me the story of this piece of lumber and what he had intended it to be -- a conference table or really high end dining table -- I practically tackled him and said this needs a special finish, one that will look French polished but have the durability of cross linking when we are done. He agreed, and we are currently getting it ready to be the featured piece of the Texas Furniture Makers Show in the fall, he'll tell you about the Fine Woodworking connection.

It took four of us to carry it to my shop and the sanding began. BTW - the slab is 37" wide, over 1" thick and almost 14' long. I followed the advice of a finish specialist and he convinced me that this new product, a water emulsion version of linseed oil, should be wiped on first to pop this piece, followed by sealer and top coats, etc. Test piece went fine, but I apparently didn't let the oil dry long enough after wiping it off (about 8 times the recommended time) and when I went to start sanding the first seal coat it pealed like sunburned skin. I should have trusted my instincts, but we weren't that upset since we both felt the oil darkened it too much, anyway. We ended up scraping that off and starting over again (talk about some sore forearms), this time trusting my gut and past experience. Lacquer. And since this was mahogany, after all, how did I want to fill it? Because it was such a special piece, I didn't want to muddy things up with any filler, though we did experiment on other pieces with different fillers, and they all did just that, muddied things. That meant lots of coats, instead, slowly filling the little valleys and pits until it got closer and closer to glass smooth. It has, so far, taken 13 coats of lacquer to finally fill nearly everything, and I am currently letting it dry for a week to see if I want to squirt it another time or two before moving on to the catalyzed varnish for the final topcoats (I'm guessing 3), using a finer needle and aircap with each successive coat. I'll then let it cure for at least a week before beginning the wet sanding and hand rubbed final stages for the luster we are looking for.

Here are a couple of pictures of the wood itself, followed by a link to more of the process. Like I said, I'll let Alex tell the history... Though, you have to be careful, since I'm not sure you can believe everything he says.:rofl:

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http://s115.photobucket.com/albums/n313/postcromag/Quilted Mahogany/
 
Messages
2,323
Location
Houston, Texas
Hi Sam :wave:,
This friendship project is one I would imagine you getting involved with. It must be a real joy having another craftsman close by, as I am sure it is for Alex.:thumb: If my network wasn't my source of income I would join you all in smithville but be out of work quick with the quality you guys produce!:D
Thanks for sharing that beautiful chunk of wide thin long wood! It is beautiful!
Shaz/not to be confused with Shaq :D:rofl:
 
Messages
1
Wow! I couldn't see any breaks in the grain - is that one piece of wood? What a piece of work - Nature's and yours!

Question about that special finish. From pictures you posted of the table from the end, the wood gives the impression of a river flowing. Entrancing. But if you give it a finish in Lacquer to a French Polish appearance, will anyone ever have the view you have given us in the picture? I can only imagine that you could see the first few feet, but then the rest would be reflection.

What do you think?

Bob A.
 

Doug Shepard

In Memorium
Messages
773
Location
Waterford, MI
Well I'm green with envy. Not sure if that's due to that awesome piece of wood or the fact you've got a free space big enough to work on it.:thumb:
 
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Sam Blasco

Member
Messages
359
Location
Smithville, TX
Wow! ...is that one piece of wood?
Question about that special finish. From pictures you posted of the table from the end, the wood gives the impression of a river flowing. Entrancing. But if you give it a finish in Lacquer to a French Polish appearance, will anyone ever have the view you have given us in the picture? I can only imagine that you could see the first few feet, but then the rest would be reflection.

Yes, one piece of wood. I see something different in it every day (usually one of Alex's whiskers :D )And the flowing river (I call it the Princess's hair) effect only gets better with finish and contrast lighting.

Hi Sam :wave:,
If my network wasn't my source of income I would join you all in smithville but be out of work quick with the quality you guys produce!:D
Thanks for sharing that beautiful chunk of wide thin long wood! It is beautiful!
Shaz/not to be confused with Shaq :D:rofl:

Hey, "Big Shaz"
The more the merrier. We would love nothing more than an artisans' collective here, and there is a big contingent in the town that are aiming towards that end. I don't see any reason why you couldn't continue to work with your base and commute at measuring, meeting and install times. Get in while the getting is good. Another four buildings sold in downtown last month!
:thumb:
 

Ted Jay

Member
Messages
80
Location
Hempstead, Texas
MAN.... how nice.
I hope you don't make a table out of it.... You need to hang that on the wall:thumb: titled "An art of work, by mother nature"... nuff said.

Ted
 

Stuart Ablett

Member
Messages
15,918
Location
Tokyo Japan
WOW.................. :eek:

Just think how many pens you could make out of that :D

.......... just kidding! ;) :rofl::rofl::rofl:

an absolutely stunning piece, to see that in person, would be a treat! :thumb:
 

Tony Baideme

Member
Messages
1,103
Location
Honolulu, Hawaii
Yeah Sam, just come waltzing back in here, after no word for so long, AND THEN, you bring something like this to show off???

What the,

Well, all I can say is,,,









Fantabulous (I think it's a real word). :rofl:

Welcome back Sir. I'm envious too. :D

Aloha, Tony
 
Messages
141
Location
smithville,tx.
first let me say what an absolute top shelf job sam has done putting on this finish , really you can't begin to see it from pictures.
i'm not going to tell the story of the tree again here-you can go back three pages to the thread -quilted mahogany table-i think it's post 25 the story is told there of how this tree ,found in 1965 and how it was brought out of the jungle after nearly 20 years (maybe a moderator could move that post ((#25))
to this thread) also you can read the story in fine woodworking 1985 sept.-oct. edition # 54
when sam said we didn't like the way the first coat that was linseed oil darkened the wood-well i cried then went and got drunk (not really-i didn't cry) -here is a picture of an old shellac finish i put on about ten years ago (this is the third finish to be put on this top) and a picture of the linseed oil-both taken on the same place on the table-
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i put those keys in that crack about five years back-they are cut from rosewood burl- any way you can see how much it darkened it -alls well that ends well-
one side note - i told before how breed love has some of this wood and showed a guitar they made from it-the guitar belonged to singer songwriter jay howlett-jay e-mailed me a month are so back and told me he had let breed love use his guitar for display in there showroom well mark knoffer came in and picked up the guitar and said this is the guitar i want well they told him it belonged to someone and he says "i have to have this guitar-i'll never touch another guitar this is the one i'll play from now on -i don't know what they had to give jay (he said they made it worth his while) but now that guitar belongs to mark knoffer.
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rounding off the sharp corners
alex
 
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