Goncalo Alves for Dining table?

Hey Guys, I'm starting on building an extension dining table. After wrestling with what to make it with, I wanted to depart from my standards of Cherry, Maple, Mahogany....and try something different. Of course cost is an issue, so I'm thinking of contrasting 2 woods. Maple legs and skirts with a special top to keep the cost in check. Here is sketchup plan.
So I ventured over to the exotic section at the hardwood dealer...Two caught my eye (but didn't break the bank and enough in stock to pick over). Goncalo Alves (Tigerwood) and Bubinga. I read up a bit on both, but wanted to see if any of you have done anything with them. This would be a solid wood top (not a veneer) probably 7/8" thick. The posts that popped up were pretty old and the links to pictures were broken.
Would appreciate your thoughts.
http://www.furniturebymark.com/forgroups/diningtabledrawing.jpg
Mark
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Nice Design Mark,
Another wood to consider, an import but probably cheaper than the woods you listed for the top, Ipe. This wood is 2.5 times harder than Oak and is a Medium reddish brown in color. Commonly sold at lumber yards as decking material. It sands and polishes out to a very hard and nice surface. You may even choose not to apply a finish, it is naturally oily. Food for thought. IIRC a 8' 5/4 x 6 deck board is about $25-$30. Once you square the edges, they come with soft round edges, you probably end up with 5" wide boards, 8 or 9 of them should be enough. The wood is also very dense like Maple.
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It might actually be over powering to have that much Goncalo Alves on one big surface.... An associate of mine made a bedroom suite and found it was overwhelming to make all the visible surfaces out of it. I saw one of the night stands and tend to agree with him... Perhaps a border around it or make the boarder out of it?
Just a thought...
John
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I just finished a jewelery box made from GA. The wood was easy to work with planes and scrapers. The guy at the wood store told me it was difficult to glue with yellow glue, and suggested epoxy. I made some tests and found yellow glue was very tough even when gluing end grain to end grain. I wipe the surface with lacquer thinner before gluing to remove any of the oils that might be near the surface. I've heard that GA is good for guitar necks - perhaps the natural oils give the nneck a nice feel...
As far as appearance of GA, there is a wide variation from piece to piece, so picking thru the stack could get some pleasing combinations, My dealer didn't have wide boards, if that's also the case for you, a table top will have a lot of glue joints; add to that the dark stripes that are not always parallel to the long edge of the board and it may end up a visual mess.
I have made cabinet tops from bubinga and it does come in wide boards. I used 14-16 inch boards, but I've seen slabs that must have been 30 inches wide. It is prone to chip out when planing, perhaps because it is a little harder and the grain runs every which way. i.e a lot of sanding may be in order... Finish it with an oil/poly type of finish and it will be stunning.
Mitch
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Hey Mitch, Thanks for the insight....others as well. I appreciate your thoughts on glue up and finishing. I have been concerned about too much of a good thing with a table top. I did look at the IPE but I found it too dark and plain for my taste in this application. Perhaps the Bubinga would be a better choice. My dealer did have wide boards of both the GA and Bubinga. But I'm limited on width of the boards with a 6" jointer. How did you handle the 16" wide boards? Do you have a wide jointer? Just curious... Mark
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On Jan 27, 7:01am, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

wide belt sander at the cabinet shop.
what about using GA as a stripe in a field of a lighter colored wood?
i've used both bloodwood and purpleheart in a field of red oak and it's come out well.
regards, charlie cave creek, az
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I don't own a jointer or planer. I let the dealer do it for me. He usually does the planing while I wait. If it just one board or two, he doesn't usually charge. If its more he adds 20 bucks or so. Even with his heavy duty planer however, there was some chip out on the bubinga.
Other interesting, but not too expensive woods are lacewood, curly anigre, and sapele.
Mitch
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MB wrote:

Don't forget koa. http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&q=koa&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wi
Oh, wait...you said "not too expensive". Cancel the koa, I was remembering when I could buy it for $0.50 per board foot.
--

dadiOH
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