From WoodworkersZone WoodWiki
Created by John Fry
More of John's work can be seen at his website:chisel and bit
This is a dining table that I built about six years ago and it was the scariest thing I've ever turned on the lathe.
A 48” Honduras Mahogany, Solid Pedestal Table.
This genuine Honduras mahogany table started as ideas and sketches. It needed enough substance to have a 60 inch x 1/2 inch piece of plate glass set on top to seat six people when needed. The pedestal is solid mahogany and ranges from twelve inches to six inches in diameter. The veneered starburst pattern on the top is made up of sixteen book matched veneer wedges shop sawn from the same piece of wood, and it measures 48 inches in diameter.
This is the glue up of the pedestal. The pieces were cut from a three inch thick slab of mahogany and glued up to insure that edge grain would be visible at every diameter of the turning. I was a bit concerned after seeing the size of this rough core. It weighed 83 pounds and was to big to go on my 14 X 40 inch lathe, so I cut all the corners down with a hand plane until it finally fit. The coffee mug shows the perspective.
Even with my lathe set at its slowest speed, I had to turn it on and then quickly turn it off, then rough cut until it stopped spinning in order to get it round and balanced enough to spin safely under power. At that point, I could start the turning of the pedestal's design. Note the two 1/2" scale practice turnings in the window. I did these to figure the best cutting sequence.
The pedestal's design was drawn up full size by the designer and approved by the client. A close-up of the primary shape coming together.
After the turning was done, I parted off the excess, remounted it on the lathe, and stained and finished it. I sighed a big sigh of relief and got it out of my shop to a safe location while I finished the rest of the table's parts.
After I re-sawed and drum sanded the table top veneers to thickness, I built a sled for the table saw that would cut the wedges to the perfect 16 segment angle.
This is a dry fit of the book matched wedge pairs. I shuffled everything around until I found the right combination and light refraction. I labeled and numbered every segment, then did some final trimming to perfect the grain match.
These are the pairs of wedges being edge glued together and clamped in special fixtures I built to hold everything perfectly in line and flat.
The pairs after glue up. They were then glued into fours, and then eights for the half circles.
After the top has been veneered and cut round with the router trammel, this router jig cuts the perfect inside diameter to mate with the table's outside diameter to make a seamless joint for the table's 2 1/2 inch wide profiled edging.
These are the floor plate and upper pedestal mounting plate. Each is made of three solid mahogany glued up 3/4" thick, panels, and they were cut round and profiled with a router trammel. Each stack of three was glued together in the vacuum press.
The plates were drilled and lag bolted to the pedestal and the holes filled with mahogany plugs. The upper plate assembly was drilled for 18 screws that go up into the underside of the table top. These will also be filled with mahogany plugs after I mount the top.
The finish was a water based, red mahogany stain, that I had never used before and I hated it. It worked great on the "spinning" pedestal but was difficult to use on the flat surface of the large table top. Then I top coated it with several coats of a wiping poly.
It did come out very well though.
Finished and ready to ship.
Delivered and in the clients home. They were ecstatic!