Maple wood, while usually thought of as the vanilla of furniture woods can also have variations in the grain that turn it from milk toast to down right exotic. Here in the north east, we find hard and soft figured maple. Soft maple seems to be the most consistent when looking for great figure. Usage varies, but in my experience, curly maple refers to figured maple and the terms tiger, birds-eye or quilted, refer to specific patterns of figure. The wood for this table is soft tiger maple. The top is the white color that we usually think of being "maple" color. The base is also soft tiger maple but it has some spalting and brown color going though it.
Wood of this character and even figure is not easy to find. It is generally hit or miss. You pick through piles and you may get lucky. The yard where I get this wood from is a small yard. The owner separates the special woods such as curly maple, cherry and others so that we don't have to pick through the piles to find them. And he gets to charge a hefty premium for them. The wood for this table cost me 3 times what I had expected. The board foot price was $15./bf. Cherry is usually around $5.- $5.50/bf. Plain old maple is usually around $2. something/bf.
Luckily, I do not often make this mistake when pricing a piece. When I put this table on my website, it will list a price that is about $1000. more than what I sold this one for. Part of that is the actual price of the wood and part of it is that it is due to the difficulty in finding enough of this type of wood that will work together for a specific project. For this table, I pretty much cleaned out my supplier of his stash of great soft curly tiger maple. That means that I would need to do some searching to find enough for another table such as this one.
This table measures 76" by 50". It is 10" wider than any other table that I have made in the past. It was very challenging in a few different ways. Glueing up a flat surface made up of several boards is not a simple task so adding to the width adds to the hair pulling. Wood expands and contracts across the grain, so the breadboard end needs to accommodate this seasonal movement. This is more difficult, the wider the table. last of all, the top is so large that turning it over again and again, in order to work on it, is a challenge at best. The saw horses that the table top laid on, had to be screwed to the floor so that they would not tip over when flipping the top. As I do not have any helpers these days, this had to be done by myself. During the finishing process, the top must be finished equally on each side or it will warp. This means that it gets flipped at least daily.
The price of the exact table would be $4600. It could also be made in other woods and at a narrower width for $3600. I think it is a good design that can be adapted to different sizes. Feel free to suggest a size that works for you. All of my tables are custom.
Have a good one,
If you have been following my blogs, you may notice that this post is more wordy than others. This is part of my Notes series that will flesh out some of the process and thoughts that goes into a design.