I am building a low coffee table out of a lovely piece of burled Swiss
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?
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
chance I get, and even though mesquite is quite hard, it's a dream to use with
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.
Free bad advice available here.
To reply, eat the taco.
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
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
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.
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
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