Crane console table: ebonized mahogany, 30″h X 56″w x 16″d; $5600.

I have been imagining the Crane table design for a while now. I sketched and then constructed a 1/8 scale model of it over two years ago, but without the time to build it, I put it on the back burner, letting the finer considerations of joinery and other details simmer there. After learning of my acceptance into the 2018 Smithsonian show in early November 2017, I knew that the Crane table had to be on the top of my list of new pieces to build for the show.

I constructed the shapes and worked out the design in full-scale first in styrofoam and then in poplar, an inexpensive hardwood. After solving the joinery issues, the shaping of the rough cut, constructed parts into the tables eventual form came surprisingly easy. I think this is because I had been imagining it so long, and knew the shape so well from the modeling and study of its form in my mind’s eye. Anyway, the poplar prototype came out so well that I took it all the way through to its final finish of Blue lacquer; it became the Blue Crane and sold at the show.

The second Crane Table was a joy to build. Mahogany is one of my favorite woods to work, and I had a large 4″ thick plank of beautiful Peruvian mahogany from which to make all parts from. The shaping is done initially with a band saw but after the parts were joined together I used grinder, spoke shave, draw knife, gouges, chisels and sand paper to arrive at its final smith, fluid shape.

I love the character and various mild figured grain of the mahogany, also the one or two worm holes that I was able to keep. I ebonized the mahogany with a vinegar/iron solution which darkens but doesn’t black out the woood’s grain. The dark reds and browns of the mahogany still show through variously in different lights. An oil/wax finish gives it a beautiful rich luster.

This, for me, is a special piece. Part table, part sculpture. It is on display in my showroom and,indeed,for sale, though I know it will be tough to see it go!

© Eben Blaney – Fine Contemporary Furniture
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