Boardroom Table: Jas. Becker Cabinetmaker just completed the installation of the largest table I have ever made, a 24 foot long, 8 1/2 foot wide, bow-sided table with a birdseye maple veneered top in seven sections. The stainless steel base (with painted steel superstructure) was provided by Master Metal Works of S. El Monte, CA.
This table project done for Global Forest Partners LP Global Forest Partners LP is one of the oldest and largest timber investment management organizations. GFP currently manages a globally diverse USD2.7 billion portfolio of closed-end commingled timberfunds on behalf of institutional and other qualified investors.
Here follows a very dry, pretty comprehensive, description of the process that gives no clue as to the amount of time thought, and often muscle needed to complete the project:
The process began with the building of a 18 foot by 5 foot melamine -topped glue-up table. This table also served to anchor the glue-up “form” used to laminate the maple “bowed” edges. It was expanded to 8 feet wide when it came time to glue the veneer to the panels. The first task was to “condition” the nine foot long, 33″ wide sections of birdseye maple veneer. This entailed painting both sides of the veneer sheet with a mixture of white glue, alcohol, glycerin, and water. The damp sheets were sandwiched between two pieces of fiberglass screen and surrounded by several sheets of blank newsprint paper, then put between two sheet of 3/4 inch melamine and inserted into the vacuum press, sucked flat, and left for several hours. At the end of that time the vacuum press was opened, the newsprint was switched out for dry sheets and then replaced in the vacuum bag; this process was repeated 5 times. I pressed 13 sheets of veneer, two at a time; it took a week of work. Simultaneously while the veneer “conditioning was going on I, once-a-day glued up a laminated, bowed, solid maple table edged segment using the “form” built onto the edge of the glue-up table (mentioned below). After the veneer was “moisturized”, dried in this manner, and stored pressed between MDF panels, I could start in making the panels.
The table top consists of seven “sandwiched” panels each composed of a core of one-inch thick birch plywood layered between two sheets of half-inch thick lightweight MDF. The six larger segments have a four foot by two foot cut-out in the plywood core into which I inserted a piece of one inch thick epoxy impregnated corrugated cardboard to help lighten the finished panels. Each segment has a one inch thick solid maple edge; the outer bowed edges were laminated on an eighteen foot long “fair-curved” pattern built onto the edge of the glue-up table. This pattern was also used to route the curves into the edge of the six bowed table-top sections prior to gluing on of the matching curved laminated edges. Finally the panels were veneered with plain maple on the bottom and birdseye-maple on the top surface, then holes were drilled for the 3 1/2 inch brushed aluminum wire grommets from Doug Mockett and Company, sanded, filled, sprayed, filled again, then spray finished twice more with M.L. Campbell “Krystal” finish.
The seven sections were assembled on site using 1/2 inch thick shop-made maple “biscuits” and “Tite Joint Fasteners” and screwed to the base. Then the three maple edged, stainless steel “IT” trays were screwed to the bottom of the assembled tables positioned under the wire grommets.