American Woodworker

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Winter 2013-2014

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Craig Thibodeau's Fine Furniture


Craig Thibodeau's Fine Furniture

Cherry and Carpathian Elm Dining Table

Size: 74″ long by 39″ wide by 30″ high

Materials: Cherry, Carpathian Elm Burl, Ebony, and Macassar Ebony

Description: This Cherry wood dining table uses a special batch of Carpathian Elm Burl veneer in a four way bookmatch to create a light colored area of burl in the center of the table. The top also has Macassar Ebony crossbanding with two Ebony inlays surrounding the Elm Burl center. The solid Cherry table base design has a slightly Asian Arts and Crafts look and also features panels of Carpathian Elm veneer as accents in the end trestles and along the lower cross piece. The table top and Carpathian Elm Burl accent panels are finished with Polyester and Conversion Varnish for protection and the base and chairs are finished with satin Lacquer. The chair design was refined through a number of mockups to finalize the curves and the backsplat shape.

Click any image to view a larger version.

Cherry and Elm Dining Chairs

Size: 36″ high by 17″ deep by 17″ wide

Materials: Cherry, Carpathian Elm Burl and Leather

Description: Built to go with the Cherry and Elm Dining Table there are four side chairs and two arm chairs. The design was refined through a number of prototypes and mockups to create a set of chairs that were very comfortable but also mate well with the dining table design. The three curved backsplats, two in Cherry and one in Carpathian Elm Burl, are bent laminations that float in their mortises and flex slightly, making for more comfortable pressure against the back while sitting. Finished with satin Lacquer and Conversion Varnish.

Art Deco Table with Trompe L’oeil Interior

Size: 38″ wide by 19″ wide by 30″ high

Materials: Pau Ferro, Quilted Maple, Macassar Ebony, and various marquetry woods.

Description: This Art Deco table is my first exploration into Trompe L’oeil marquetry imagery. The table commission itself began as a nice Deco style table without any of the extra details. To that base we added the two pop out drink trays in Maple and Ebony with polished Stainless Steel inserts. We then began discussing what to do with the interior space of the central column. A variety of ideas were tossed about until the client settled on a Trompe L’oeil image hidden behind a secret door with a couple more secret areas hidden in the image.

We worked out a system of imbedded magnets that would hold pieces in place but also allow them to be opened with a special magnetic key. The door is held closed by four magnets and there are additional magnets buried inside the hidden drawer and the outside face of the secret door. We decided the special magnetic key should be hidden somewhere on the outside of the table so it could be accessed easily but not seen. The key itself has been veneered to match the surrounding wood and is spring loaded so a gentle push makes it pop out. It then can be used to open the main secret door and also to pull out the hidden drawer. The small door in the image leads to a small space with a polished floor and arched ceiling. The veneer for the walls and ceiling gradually change to darker colors as they go deeper into the cavity to increase the sense of depth.