View Full Version : Peruvian walnut table designed for wood movement

Mark Singer
12-22-2003, 9:50 AM
I have recieved many questions about expansion of wood and instability since I joined the Creek. Many beginning woodworkers ignore wood expansion until they make something and it twists, bows and deforms in some manner. This project integrates wood expansion into the design. It acknowleges it, accepts it and celebrates it as a design solution. The joinery used allows for wood movement and therefore it is a very stable piece. The corner "bridal" joints are held with a single screw from the bottom. Expansion occurs across the grain and by drilling larger holes in the end cap I allowed for 1/8" expansion which is ample. That is only 1/16" per screw. The end caps have "dry" bisquits to keep vertical alignment with the top. The wood carrier beams that the stainless steel legs mount to have "slip" mortise and tenon joints. These were not glued. The Peruvian Walnut was only available in 4/4....to achive the thicker section ,I laminated 3 pieces edge grain up . These rails were than joined to the already joined and glued planks that comprise the top. The stainless legs were mortised into the rails by hand using a tenon saw and paring chisel. Any tear out would have ruined the execusion.
I joint and then hand plane each board to fit ...touching at the ends and a small 1/16" gap at the center. It actually saves time to carefully prepare each piece...wood fillers are ugly and take time to apply. This kind of project requires a variety of skills, but is within most woodworkers ability. A friend of mine is a "master" metalworker from Scotland and made the legs. We have collaborated on many pieces. I draw the hardware in CAD and a week later its ready. This table was a gift to my wife a " Peruvian Princess"

ken gibbs
12-04-2008, 7:39 PM
I recently finished a new computer desk using walnut I milled my self, sugar maple, and reclaimed yellow pine. I made the top out of walnut and sugar maple using walnut for the edges and breadboards with sugar maple inlay for the rest of the top. I used walnut for the face frame and sugar maple for the drawer fronts. I built the cabinet box work out of oak 3/4" plywood for stability. I built a top subframe out of pine and then realized that because I used a full 24" top dimension, I had to attach the top to allow for movement. So I bought some sheet metal screws with the built in washers and glued/screwed down the top in the center (only) length wise. I elongated the screw holes so that the top could float from the center outboard. This desk is a very heavy piece of furniture and the top turned out to be a piece of work!. I used a medium walnut stain over the whole piece and then 50% thinned urethane, multiple coats. I used about ten or eleven coats with progressively lighter sandings and then steal wool between coats. All commercial desks were not wide enough and long enough to hold a computer tower and a commercial printer, so I added 11" to the over all length and added a 1/2 shelf slung underneath to hose the tower. I think it the most practical computer desk I have ever seen and it is also a quality piece of walnut furniture. You have to leave pleanty of air space around the tower for heat loss and the back has to have wiring traces for all of the wiring. No problems with seasonal wood moving.

J.R. Rutter
12-04-2008, 10:05 PM
Nicely done, Mark.

How did you like the Peruvian walnut? I just did a large kitchen (over 200 sqft of raised panel doors and drawer faces) in N. American walnut and found that, between the sap, excessive skip on the H&M, knots, etc, it was expensive and wasteful. The FAS looked more like #1 common. One of my suppliers suggested Peruvian for next time.

Don Bullock
12-04-2008, 10:55 PM
Mark, that's another masterpiece from a master woodworker. Very nice work. I too am interested in the Peruvian walnut. It's beautiful wood.

Jason Beam
12-04-2008, 10:57 PM
How the heck did this thread sit for nearly 5 years with no replies?

Anthony Anderson
12-04-2008, 11:04 PM
How the heck did this thread sit for nearly 5 years with no replies?

No WAY! I never caught that this is a post from 5 years ago. I agree. How did this go unnoticed for 5 years? That is one unique and beautiful table. Beautiful! I love the Peruvian Walnut. How did this thread get passed by without a single comment. I am always speechless when I see your work. Thanks for sharing your work Mark. Sorry I didn't notice 5 years ago. Regards, Bill

Jim Becker
12-05-2008, 9:47 AM
The thread was quickly buried in General Woodworking at the time...we didn't have the forum diversity at that point and it was so easy for things to get lost. When this popped up yesterday, I moved it here.

SMC Moderator

Bob Hallowell
12-08-2008, 9:00 AM
Very nice but how do the 4 legs hold that thing up?


Todd Crawford
12-08-2008, 9:37 AM
That looks awesome! Love the finish on that piece and the design is great. You should be very proud! Great work!

Prashun Patel
05-09-2012, 9:13 AM
I know this thread is 10 years old, but the design is so elegant, I just had to say thanks for sharing. Thanks too to Chris P for referencing it...