Blackheart Sassafras & ebonised Vic Ash Hall Table

Kylie (Mon PM TG) – 

I’ve wanted to use Blackheart Sassafras for a very long time now. It’s beautiful and striking and I was super excited to get this particular piece (thanks Rob – Australian Premier Veneers). The design of the table is very simple as I wanted it to be all about the timber, with the idea that the sassafras is suspended in a plain frame.

The top is exactly as I found it, minus a few shavings. The frame is made from Vic Ash which has been ebonised and stained: teabags, coffee, vinegar, steel wool, filler, walnut stain, brown and black japan – it felt like I was coming to woodwork to do chemistry. It was fun and interesting, and I feel the end result has the depth and colour I was seeking.

The sassafras is finished with polyurethane and the frame with danish oil, all of which was done prior to final glue up.

The table took about 5 terms to complete, but was promised to my sister about 5 years ago, when I asked her to set aside a bit of real estate in her new house. I’ll be making a road trip to SA soon to deliver – I’ve given her the dimensions but revealed nothing else, so hope she likes it.



American Cherry Cabinet

David (Tue PM TG) – 

I bought the American Cherry planks and the Hard Maple for the drawer sides in April 2012 and spent the first 6 weeks or so getting the design and drawings all worked out.  34 dovetailed corners and about 60 tenons and some assorted trenches later I’m glad its finally done – though I’m still not exactly sure what you’d call it – a cabinet with drawers?

I did spend a whole term making the moulding on top, which went through a dozen mock ups and prototypes.  The finish is Danish Oil – around 8 or 9 coats.  No individual part was especially difficult just about 3-4 years longer than I’d first anticipated!



Multi-Timber Type Dining Chairs x 10

Charles (Wed AM TG) – 

My wife, Jane, had put up with our mis-matched antique dining chairs for 30+ years.  Enough!

Under this pressure I  designed, modelled, prototyped, built 10 dining chairs in similar design but with different timber boards (from Matthews) (PNG Rosewood, Fiji Mahogany, US Maple, Euro Oak, NZ Beech, US Oak, Black Butt, Ebonised US Oak, Tassie Oak & American Cherry).

The end result is a set of 10 surprisingly comfortable and “different but matching chairs”.  Google gave me the critical angles for “Back Slope”, “Seat Slope”, “Seat Height” etc.

During the process I learned a lot about different timbers, tools and a myriad of mistakes that can be made (it seems I am the only one to notice most of them).

Thanks to the Wednesday AM group for their input and support.


Blackwood Writing Desk

Campbell (Fri AM TG) – 

The desk is designed for a small space and is just deep enough for a laptop or writing pad.  It is all blackwood timber demonstrating the variation in colours and textures from the warm desktop to the contrasting dark legs.  The top is constructed as a rectangular box with legs attached through angled bridle joints.  There are narrow open shelves at each end. The drawer handle was made from timber matching the legs.  Finish is Danish oil.


Blue Gum & American Maple “Magic“ Cupboard

Michelle (Wed PM TG) –

I call this the magic cupboard because it just looks like a cupboard until you open it, then magic.

The genesis of this design was a Pennsylvania spice box, then I sized it to hold embroidery equipment and threads. So 15 drawers (1 is hiding) and over 120 dovetails later here we are.

Many thanks to the Wednesday night team and Gray for the many lifts and listening to some extreme language when all didn’t go as planned.


Tassie Oak/Blackwood Small Cabinet

Tracy (Tue AM TG) –

Cabinet made from Tassie oak, with veneered blackwood sliding doors and backing. Adjustable shelf. This was a good first try at veneering, which I was able to do with lots of clamps and melamine boards and a slight word to the heavens. Now the man of the house can keep everything together in one spot.


American Maple Coffee Table

Soo Ming (Mon PM TG) –

The story behind the design is that we were simply unable to find a nice enough table that suited the space that we had for it. Living in an apartment only a small space is available and most coffee tables for sale were either too big, too small, or just not great.

Really the unusual shape was probably borne out of random doodling and requirements of our living room – so one would be less likely to kick the corner of the table when going past it walking to the kitchen behind… I have been constantly reminded that the table is not square, my response to that has always been – really? I did not realise…

I spent almost a whole term on the design going back and forth between Gray and the missus before deciding on one that met all the stakeholder’s requirements and would still be a worthy first project.

Bringing the table back finally after 3 years – first thing that was said to me was… it doesn’t match the other furniture in the room does it…?


The In-Law Collection – set of boxes

Kylie (Mon PM TG) –

This set of boxes I have named “the in-law collection”, they are gifts for my husband’s brother and my brother’s wives (and one for my husband). They started life as a quick and simple project while I procrastinated my next design. “A quick cuff-link box using some nice left over timber”. And then it was 2 boxes, and then 4 boxes. Nice timber, nice gifts, and not quick. The timbers are wenge, maple, new guinea rosewood, huon pine and silky oak – all finished in Danish oil.

In hindsight they were the perfect small project for 2016 while I recovered from 3 knee operations.



Vic Ash Coffee Table (in progress)

Adrian (Fri AM TG) – 

In-progress photos of my coffee table.

The base is almost complete and I’ve only just started the top. All Vic ash with Japan black proof tint as a stain.

I wanted the design to incorporate a contrast between the upper and lower halves of the base, hence the use of a dark stain and the change in thickness of the table legs.

The bottom rack has 20 slats, that’s 40 mortise and tenon joins. This has provided ample opportunity to practice this common form of traditional joinery.


Tasmanian Blackwood Bedside Tables

Grant (Mon PM TG) – 

My first project with the School is a pair of bedside tables made entirely out of Tasmanian Blackwood.  Coming in with no idea of what exactly I wanted to make other than that I wanted to build fine furniture I eventually thought a pair of bedside tables would be an ideal first project.  The curves presented some challenges but with (a lot of) Gray’s assistance it has all come together quite nicely.

My only woodworking experience to date has been in secondary school so I am very proud of these pieces.  Learning not only the joinery required to build such pieces but also such things as the design process, allowing for wood movement and simply making things pleasing to the eye are skills I hope to expand on and take further.  I look forward to my second piece and (hopefully) many more after that.


Grant's Tasmanian Blackwood Bedside Tables