Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Rosewood Console #1

8:18 AM Comments 1

This console table, built from Santos Rosewood, is for one of our newest clients from San Francisco.

Rosewood Console Table 1

The table itself is a very simple, contemporary design, comprising of just ten parts in all; three surfaces and seven uprights. Each surface is 68″ wide, 14″ deep, and 2″ thick. All seven of the uprights are 3.75″ wide and 8.5″ deep, with the four top and bottom ones being 6″ tall and the three middle ones measuring 12″ tall.

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We began by building the three substrates that the Santos Rosewood veneer would be adhered to.  To achieve the 2″ thickness for each surface we sandwiched two 1″ thick MDF layers together.

We used veneer for this console table because Rosewood is not available in solid boards in the lengths or the thicknesses necessary to construct large pieces of furniture. Using veneers allow us to use the Rosewood for any project of any size we desire.

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Once the glue had a chance to dry for a few days, the 14″ width was easily achieved using the joiner and the table saw, but cutting each surface to the required 68″ length was a bit more difficult.

We normally cut boards to length using a chop saw or a table saw and a sled, but in this case, neither of these options were going to work for us.  The width of each surface was to large to cut on our 12″ chop saws and each one weighed so much there was no way we could use the sled and the table saw to cut the ends.

Instead, we simply set up a straight edge, and using a 2″ straight bit in the router, trimmed each end square and to the correct length. The resulting edges were perfectly clean and smooth.

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After finishing work on the surfaces we moved on to the uprights. As I mentioned before, all the uprights were 3.75″ thick.  We could have arrived at this thickness by gluing multiple pieces together, but I didn’t want there to be any seems or glue joints visible on the fronts of these uprights.  Instead, we called up a few of our hardwood suppliers and one of them had some 16/4 basswood which would work perfectly well.

The 11″ width of the rough board was to wide to run through our joiner, and even the final width of 8.5″ was to wide for our 8″ joiner, so we achieved one flat side by running it through a wide belt sander at a local cabinet shop.  After a dozen or so passes we had a nice flat side. We then ran it through our 15″ thickness planer to flatten the other side and achieve the overall thickness of 3.75″

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Each of the uprights also have a cove detail in the front and back.  The only way we had the ability to achieve this was to use the table saw.  Every time someone sees this done they cringe and think you are out of your mind, but it is a perfectly safe (as safe as using a table saw can be) and normal detailing technique.  It is also a fairly simple one.

We clamped on a straight fence, and through a little trial and error, arrived at the correct angle.  The only thing to remember is to not try and cut off to much in one pass.  The closer your angle is to horizontal, the less you can take off at once.

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After we cut each of the seven uprights from the newly coved stock, we began routing out the mortises in the tops and the bottoms.  We used our plunge router and a .5″ spiral upcut bit to mortise out two 5″ wide and 1″ deep mortises.  After all 24 mortises were completed, we were practically swimming in the wood shavings!

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Here is a closer shot of the mortises.  Each of the uprights look like they are comprised of two pieces of wood because we had to cut them on the table saw in two passes, running in opposite directions, which resulted in the different color wood surface. Similar to the way the lanes of a freshly mowed lawn looks green and silverish.

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And last but not least, here is a picture of the Santos Rosewood veneer.  It is an absolutely beautiful exotic wood and the price of each sheet of veneer definitely reflected that!