Koi Pond Coffee Table

By Warren Snow at Snow Woodworks in Marshall, VA.

The Creative Category includes hand painted pieces, so I submit the Koi Pond Coffee Table for your consideration.  It features the lost art of marquetry.  My brush is a tiny scroll saw, and my palette consists of colorful woods meticulously combined to create a koi pond.  General Finishes products provide the warm glow that makes everything look just right.

The table is an original design.  The base is made of ash in a series of bent laminations, forming the pond’s outline.  An elliptical glass top creates the water’s surface, revealing flowered lily pads and koi fish below.  The pond image is a meticulously cut and fitted layer of interlocking woods, using the technique of double-bevel marquetry.  A variety of wood colors and grain patterns are used to create the pond’s 3-dimensional effect.

The process begins with a full size drawing created in Adobe Illustrator.  Next, a background layer of the pond’s pebble bottom is cut and assembled from light colored butternut.  Then, the dark walnut shadow areas are positioned and cut into the background.  A variety of wood veneers are selected, oriented for grain direction, and then cut by hand to create the lily pads, flowers, and fish that form the pond’s image.  These elements are cut and assembled as sub-sections that are later cut into the background.  One picture shows a completed lily pad carefully positioned over its shadow and being cut by hand around the edge.  Another picture shows the same process with a completed koi fish. 

The process culminates in a full marquetry sheet of wood that is glued to a substrate, and cured in a vacuum press.  This leads to refining the edges and sanding in preparation for finishing.

The finish recipe for this table begins with a coat of General Finishes Seal-a-Cell.  This is followed by multiple coats of General Finishes Satin Arm-R-Seal, carefully sanding between coats to remove imperfections.  The finishing work was done by hand with foam brushes.  The final step is a buffed application of furniture paste wax.

I hope you enjoy the creative design, and meticulous execution of the Koi Pond Coffee Table.

Products Used

  • General Finishes Seal-a-Cell
  • General Finishes Satin Arm-R-Seal
  • Minwax Furniture Paste Wax

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