If dining tables could tell stories...

Not every dining room table has it's own story though



Or keep scrolling down for table construction pix..



When this project's time arrived, I was short on time, so I searched the internet for someone that could help me carve MY art. I wanted it carved of real wood, not plastic and particle board like all the chinese crap available in furniture stores.
I contacted several companies... they thought I was crazy. Duhhh. Next.

Then I found Lance and Olinda at R-Furniture in Canoga Park California.

My first e-mail to Lance read...

"Imagine your Espanola table (with an elliptical top) having sat in an empty Inca ruin for a few hundred years as nature invades the dark building and envelops the table in tree roots. Perhaps the roots grew right thru the surface of the table and down to the ground. The table has then been cut free of the roots that bound it, and it lives again as a table, still entwined with roots. This is what I am after. Think about it. If you are interested let's talk.

I would want to provide sketches but am very open to your ideas as well. Your carved roots would need to look like the same species as mine. Dripping. We would want chairs to match. As far as wood goes we can figure that out as we proceed. The floor is this clawed monster seaweed thing made of gray/rust/black slate crawling across the floor withhand hewn Brazilian Cherry in the fields. (Kathy and I are currently working on this.) A curling arm of the monster wraps in an ellipse around the dining room... thus the elliptical table. These are my own rules for carving roots. Root rules "

His response...

"Wow, that sounds like a great project! I look forward to meeting you and discussing more. Olinda and I already reviewed your pictures and discussed ideas."

Obviously these are my kind of Can-Do people


Drawings Sketches and 50 e-mails later...



The wood arrives in Lances shop in Lima Peru.

I see a table in there... They did too.

The wood had to aclimate for a couple of months to be sure it's moisture content was stable before glue up.
Though coastal, Lima Peru gets only1/4" of rain per year.



Now, just in case you didn't read the Story Behind the Table, Lance Reynolds and Olinda Romani of R-Furniture are brokers for, and relations of, wood carving artists in Lima Peru. These guys are old school. You won't see many power tools in these pix. This is the real deal. Carved and finished by hand.

Rough cuts and fitting.

A paper CAD plot of the table top was mailed to Peru to serve as a template for the elipse.
If you've ever done any big cutter edge routing... Look at the edge of that table. The size of cutter required... and routed on a curve.
Wow. I bow to the masters. I'd probably be missing an arm if I tried that...

More parts




The master at work...







I love the presence of plants in their shop environment. I need to emulate that in my shop.


Do these guys do nice work or what!







The "rivets" aremade of obsolete Peruvian coins, hobbed to 1/3 spheres with a foot press, drilled, and nailed in place.
Get that at an Ashley furniture store.



Tense days, waiting for the ship to arrive. It's out of our control. The DEA is known to unpack and search shipping containers from Peru.
They don't do it very carefully and have damaged art before... and they charge you money for the privelage of searching you.

Wouldn'tcha know it. We got picked.
Get this. Having been burned before, Lance called his State Senator who was able to stop the DEA from breaking into the container.
Having proven repeatedly that Lance is a good guy. Does he really need to go thru this again?
Did I mention Lance is good?



After the table landed in Canoga Park Olinda and Lance applied an antique wax process to the table... making it look a lot older than it is.



At last, after 2 years of eating dinner on a plywood prototype of the table, it's here!

It was worth the wait.

More pix?



Thanks to Lance and Olinda at R-furniture for most of the above photos.
These pix were e-mailed to me while the table was being built making it easy to collaborate on the project as it progressed.