Winner! Compass Rose Coffee Table

By Warren Snow at Snow Woodworks

Winning Category

WoodworkingFirst Place

The Compass Rose Coffee Table is made primarily of Macassar ebony, with an inlaid compass rose of holly and etimoe.  The compass rose is encircled by a 16-sector pie-matched grain pattern, with a waterfall edge.  The outer edge is beveled to reveal a jet black gaboon ebony detail.  The legs are ebonized poplar.

Macassar ebony is a stunning wood that is most impressive when displayed with a high-clarity mirror-like finish.  The 1920's Art Deco masterpieces by Jacques Ruhlmann are the epitome of the luxurious ebony finish I strive to achieve.

After many failed experiments, here's the finishing recipe for Macassar ebony I have found works best.  The key is to use a grain filler with high clarity.  Ebony is quite porous and difficult to fill, and most filler products cloud the wood's vibrant deep colors.  I use a 2-part epoxy, multiple times if necessary, to fill the grain.  After adequate curing time and thorough sanding, I apply GF Seal-a-Cell.  Then comes multiple coats of GF Gloss Enduro Var, carefully sanding between coats to remove imperfections and flatten the surface.  Enduro Var builds thickness quickly, and its quick drying time allows for multiple coats per day.  The finishing work for this table was done by hand with foam brushes (no spray equipment used).

Once an adequate finish has been built through repeated coats and sanding cycles, I allow a few weeks for the finish to fully cure.  Enduro Var cures to a hard density that is perfect for polishing.  The mirror surface is achieved with a series of polishing compounds buffed by hand.

Of all the products I've used for Macassar ebony, the combination of epoxy grain filler and GF Gloss Enduro Var provides excellent clarity, and a gorgeous finish.

Project Category

Woodworking

Products Used

General Finishes Seal-a-Cell
General Finishes Satin Enduro Var
2-part Epoxy (for grain filler)
Polishing Compounds

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