Making a Reading Table – Part Eleven

I quickly cut the new hinges into their respective positions in the table so I could dump them in the Bucket of Wrath and proceed with the finishing process.

Old red walnut (ORW) with its brown-red colour is often mistaken for mahogany, but it has almost chameleon characteristics: In subdued light, ORW can indeed look like brownish mahogany, but in bright light, it has deep orange tones. Computer monitors are notorious for misrepresenting colour; natheless, I have taken pictures of the table in three distinct lighting conditions in the hope of portraying the complex colours of this table.

The pillar and claw in early morning haze.

In reading table mode, in strong sunlight.

In side table mode.

The locking screw.

One of the drawers.

The claw.

The triangle attached to the claw.

About Jack Plane

Formerly from the UK, Jack is a retired antiques dealer and self-taught woodworker, now living in Australia.
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8 Responses to Making a Reading Table – Part Eleven

  1. Tico Vogt says:

    Tremendous! What a beautiful table. First rate.


  2. Gereon Lamers, Weimar says:

    What a beautiful table indeed!

    Now, obviously you have decided to implement a fully detachable book stop and I am curious about the solution you have found (at least) since part 7: “I’m still not entirely sure whether the book stop will be fully- or semi-detachable […]However, last weekend, I came across a rather splendid solution to the dilemma. All will be revealed in due course.”

    Has the time for revealment come?

    As always, sincere thanks for the magnificent blog!



    • Jack Plane says:

      Thank you Tico and Gereon for the kind words.

      You caught me out! I completely forgot to divulge the book stop attachment solution. Thank you for reminding me.

      I sunk three brass bushes into the reading slope, close to the hinged edge (you can just see them in the fourth, fifth and tenth images in Part Eleven). The book stop has three brass pins in its bottom face which engage the three bushes in the slope. It’s nice and snug with no wobble or play. I’m quite satisfied with it.

      Coincidently, I see Christies, New York are selling a reading table with the exact same set-up. The sun is setting here now, but tomorrow I’ll take a couple of shots of the book stop and add an addendum to the reading table series.


  3. Greg Forster says:

    I’ve been trying ( without much success) to achieve the ORW finish. So far I’ve tried a 1-1/2 lb cut garnet shellac and another attempt with yellow aniline dye with a bit of red added. Nothing comes close to your beauitiful finish.


    • Jack Plane says:

      When faking ORW; the majority of the colour must be in the wood itself to achieve the chameleon effect. The cut and colour of shellac is purely secondary.

      It’s a well-used adage, but practice really does make perfect. Ageing the black walnut in strong sunlight first kills some of the coldness of the wood and will give you an advantage. Try concentrated yellow on a number of sample boards and over coat them with a lateritious mix in varying strengths and see what happens.


  4. Pingback: Ringing in the New Year | Pegs and 'Tails

  5. Morten Bøgel says:

    Great stuff, thanks for that.
    I wonder if you use any modern grain filler prior to polishing, or you use pumice/shellac?
    Kind regards
    the dane


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