Best wood for spokeshave curved coffee table legs?

Hi,
I am building a low coffee table out of a lovely piece of burled Swiss pear.
The top will be around 2.5 cm (1") thick and supported by 4 legs with a gentle curve and an oval cross section. The look I'm after is something elegant and feminine (the table is for a single mother friend of ours). I do almost all my work with hand tools and have a few spokeshaves but have not had reason to use them really till now.
To give a better idea on dimensions the overall height of the legs will be somewhere around 35 cm (14"), with a curve deflection of around 5 cm (2") at the apex point of deflection which will be at about 8 cm (3") off the floor. Maximum dimension of the cross section should be around 4 cm (1.5").
Any ideas on woods I should consider for the legs? I want to minimize problems with tearout so don't want anything with interlocking grain.....basically the ideal for me would be a good beginners wood for getting into spokeshave work that also is stable and suited to table construction. Visually I am not after anything to compete with the table top as the focus will be on the burled figure of the pear.
Spokeshaver gurus....what say you?
Dave M.
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dave_in_gva wrote:

I not sure what burled Swiss pear looks like or what color it is, so I don't know how well it would mesh with my suggestion, but from a stability and workability standpoint, as well as for sheer beauty, my favorite wood is mesquite. I *love* spokeshaves and use them every chance I get, and even though mesquite is quite hard, it's a dream to use with hand tools. Like I said, I don't know if it would be a good match in terms of color, but keep in mind that it does darken over time (kinda like cherry) to a deep reddish brown. Check out the pictures of the snare drum on my Flickr page (in my sig below) if you want to get an idea of how mesquite changes color as it ages.
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I've used Mahogany, Walnut and Cherry for shaping/carving before with good results. I think genuine (Honduran) mahogany has always been a favorite of carvers. Good straight grain pieces usually work pretty well and easily.
Gary in KC

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Cherry works very nicely with a 'shave, and I think would be a beautiful contrast with the pear -- and as the cherry darkens with age, that will look even better.
I've never worked mahogany with a spokeshave, but I've used it on the lathe, and based on the way it turns I think it would be very easy to work. It has a reputation for being an excellent carving wood.
Either one is an outstanding material for fine furniture.
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On Jul 3, 5:08 am, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

Great guys, thanks. Both cherry and mahogany (as well as walnut) are all available locally here (in Switzerland).
I think I'll go with one of those. I may even use pear from the same board.
Best,
Dave
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Just be aware that my comments about "cherry" referred to American black cherry (Prunus serotina). The cherry that's available in Switzerland is likely to be from the fruit tree (P. avium); never having worked with P. avium, I'm not qualified to comment on its similarity (either in appearance or mechanical characteristics) to P. serotina. Bear in mind, too, that taxonomic classifications are not based on the needs of the lumber industry. It's not necessarily a safe assumption that being in the same genus implies any particular degree of similarity in the lumber: the sugar maple and the silver maple are both genus Acer, and have similar appearance, but radically different mechanical characteristics. The same may be true of the different cherry species.
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