Sunday, March 25, 2012

Brazilian Mahogany



Its not often in life that an opportunity to work on such an amazing piece of wood comes along. I had a phone call one day from a potential customer saying that he wanted a dining room table made, nothing out of the ordinary so far. He then went on to explain that years ago his father worked importing exotic timbers and when he died he left a plank each to his sons. This turned out to be no ordinary plank of wood, it was in fact a 14 foot long and 3 and a half foot wide two inch thick plank of Brazilian mahogany. Now it is a bit of a no no nowadays to use such a wood and encourage the illegal felling of the rain forest but seeing as though this plank had the import date written on it and had been sitting in a barn for about 30 years i thought that it was safe. Now the customer had already had 5 foot cut off and made into a small dining table but now he wanted the other 9 foot made into one as well. Not only that but he was adamant that it should not be cut up in any way so the solid lump would form the table top. I decided on staining up some sapele for the underframe and legs and also seeing as though it was so well seasoned and a very reliable wood in terms of movement then cupping should be pretty minimal. It wouldn't though fit on or in any machine that i had so we set about with an electric plane, belt sander and straight edge. The finished piece is a really big solid piece of furniture and detail wise it really didn't need any, the star of the show was the wood itself and it came up really well with a lot of oil. It was a real privilege to work with and i cant imagine that will come up again any time soon.