The making of...the ebony and mahogany dining table

As I was going through some old files, I found photos of the dining table I made two years ago.  I believe I promised to show you how I made the table, but for some reason I never did.  

The table was made after an older and much bigger example.  It has an ebony frame and legs, silver feet and a mahogany top.  The table top had to be quite big to hold a lot of miniature silver items.

I started with the ebony, which I bought at the lumber yard.  I planed the ebony and cut it to size.  Despite all of the stories I had heard I found it surprisingly easy to work with.
The pieces of wood I made for the legs are 8 x 8 mm (about 5/16 inch I believe).  

The legs had to be tapered on all four sides so I made a sophisticated jig to cut the tapers.  The first and second side cuts are easy, but the next two cuts are more tricky as the leg is now resting on a tapered side.  So I made another sophisticated jig to balance that.    


I think I ruined one or two piece already at this stage, but I ended up with 6 pieces which I could use  for the next step.  The drawing shows what the table will eventually look like.  The legs are too long at this stage but I did that so they would be easier to handle.  They will be cut to size later.  

The next step was routing the fluting on all sides of each leg.  As you can see in the drawing, the fluting is wider at the top than at the bottom and there are two of them next to each other.  The first cut for the fluting is parallel to the edge so that was fairly easy.  

The other cuts, for tapering the fluting, were far more challenging.  Of course I also made a jig for that, but even with the jig it was tricky.  I used round head burrs for all of the routing.  For the top of the fluting I used a burr with a bigger diameter so the fluting would have perfectly rounded tops. 

  I finished the fluting by hand using my carving tools.  When I finished the routing I ended up with four legs I could use.  Lucky then that the table needed exactly four legs!  As the four legs had taken so much work to make I was quite nervous cutting them down to size, a job which normally would be a matter of routine.  

The feet on the legs are silver.  I made a wooden model and had them cast in silver.  After a bit of filing they were ready for polishing.  I enjoy polishing as it brings out the beauty of the silver (and your nails become nice and shiny as a bonus!)

Fitting the feet to the legs was much harder than anticipated.  Even though I used jigs and the silver was cast from the same model, there were slight differences in size due to the work I did to them.  We're talking fractions of millimeters of course, but still...

I don't have any photos of how I made the rest of the table, but that was all fairly straightforward.  
The top was made from beautiful old mahogany which I got from Hubert Boom.  I finished the wood with some French polish.  Not too much as it wasn't supposed to look brand new, but just to give it a bit of shine.  

I also aged the top very subtly so it didn't look like a brand new table.  
So here it is, the finished table!  I was happy with it and I learned a lot during the process.


The photo of the roombox complete with silver has featured on my blog before, but I am showing it again to illustrate how perfect it looks with all of the beautiful silver on it.  

First and last photo by A.Aardewerk Antiquair Juwelier


  1. Oooh Well done! Ebony is so wonderful You can polish it into such a beautiful finish. I love the fact you had silver feet cast. It is a nice compliment to the antique silver pieces.

  2. Absolutely amazing! A true work of art.

  3. Dear Josje, I am in such AWE of your skills! Not just woodworking but jig making too! And every design is so individual and so well thought out! The results are just Gorgeous! Perfection is not a good enough word!! I have some old pieces of Rosewood that I hope to (someday) turn into a lovely Dining table and sideboard. I am certain that I will need to start with something simpler to learn the skills I will need. Your work is such an inspiration and I really appreciate every time you show your processes so clearly! This table with its silver feet is so unique and Stunning in every way! Thank you for showing how you made it! :)

  4. Me encanta lo que has hecho con las patas y con la mesa en general. Un trabajo genial.

  5. Me encanta la madera de ébano y tu mesa es una pieza magnífica!!! La plata resalta muchísimo con el contraste de tonos!

  6. Perfection! The wood is wonderful against the Silver! You are incredibly talented.

  7. I absolutely love making offs.Thank you very much for showing us this:)
    The result is superb!!


  8. This table is really beautiful! Looks great with the silver on it, and the feet too. Thanks for showing the leg steps, very interesting---

  9. I've always avoided Ebony because I heard it was such a difficult material. I may give it a go now. You know, every time I see your silver I think 'Poor Josje having to polish that every month':0P
    Love the table. The legs are fantastic :0)

  10. Dear Josje! This perfectly! A true work of art! You did a great job and the result is impressive. This beautiful stand alone and perfectly highlights the beauty of silver.

  11. Hello Josje,
    The table is magnificent. I love the finish and the detail in the legs is lovely! Thank you for the tutorial.
    Big hug

  12. WOW!!! What an Incredible Talent you have Josje!

  13. Es una obra de arte. Enhorabuena

  14. hello, I have just spent three hours looking through your posts !! totally addicted and another day with no work done but so much learnt ,,, I am jsut starting out on the miniature world and am living and sleeping it already. It pulls you in!! I am doing tons of research, buying books, looking at blogs and trying not to be discouraged by all the amazing things you all do ,,, especially you !! goodness , such beautiful stuff !!! may I ask where you have your silver cast ??? I live in the French countryside but am Scotish. One day if I decide to get older I will move to Haarlem or Amsterdam as I love the Netherlands. My bestest wishes my dear ,,, Stephanie

    1. Thank you for the compliment Stephanie. I can understand your enthusiasm and wonderment, I still feel like that when I see all those fantastic miniatures made by so many talented people. Don't be discouraged, just enjoy what you're doing.
      I have my silver cast by a company in Purmerend (close to Amsterdam) who specialise in casting bronze, gold, silver, copper etc. It was an interesting and fun process, I should do it more often. But as with so many things, I don't have time to do it all.
      When you do decide to get older and move to the Netherlands, let me know, I'd love to meet you!


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