Mahogany & Curly Maple Dining Buffet
(Click any photo for a close-up view)
Put quite simply, this dining room buffet is one of the finest pieces of contemporary-styled furniture that I've ever built. As the photos above show, the buffet features four massive columns covered in highly figured flame-pattern mahogany crotch veneer. Even the pictures can't fully convey the shimmer, glow, and nearly 3D nature of this prized veneer. These amazing columns rest on curly maple pedestals and are topped off with a set of cap elements and interconnecting arched spans, also made from figured curly maple. More importantly, these upper maple elements conceal a set of 36 small halogen light fixtures, with dimmer controls, which illuminate the faces of the mahogany columns. Once the dedicated lighting hits those figured mahogany faces, the veneer truly comes to life. The entire piece is the covered with large pieces of plate glass, allowing all elements of the buffet to be seen, and yet still be used as a serving surface in this formal dining room.
Construction of the mahogany columns, from a woodworking perspective, was the most daunting part of this project. Sixteen sequential sheets of mahogany crotch veneer must be precisely glued up, with each successive sheet reversed from the prior one, causing adjacent column faces to be exact mirror images of each other. Since perfection is the goal here, even a single misalignment, air pocket in the glue, or other defect would require the entire process to be started over. But since the flame pattern mahogany crotch is extremely rare, starting over isn't even an option....
Another very interesting aspect of this very large piece of furniture is that it was designed and constructed as two separate (but identical) sections/halves, which are placed end-to-end with a set of connecting arches in the center. This approach allows the buffet to be used as one contiguous unit (as seen in the photos above) However, by removing the center arch sections, the buffet can be separated into two independent tables, each retaining it's own internal lighting system.
The dining room buffet is 168" long, 36" tall, and 24" deep.
This dining room buffet continued the "figured mahogany" trend with this client, for whom multiple projects have been completed which incorporate mahogany lumber and other materials such as stone/glass. Check out the Mahogany & Onyx Kitchen Countertops and the Mahogany & Onyx Fireplace Mantel for other projects that follow this stunning mahogany theme. For other dining room furniture pieces, please visit the Tables & Desks page. To see other contemporary styled projects, please visit the Contemporary page.
And finally, due to it's unique/distinctive nature, this project is included in my Signature Pieces collection of work. Feel free to visit that page to learn more.
There are several unique characteristics of this dining buffet that contributed to it's considerable cost: first, the construction of four identical columns veneered with expensive and very hard-to-find flame pattern mahogany crotch veneer; second, the concealed installation and wiring of 36 halogen light fixtures and dimmers which illuminate the columns; and third, the fact that this completed piece, with thick glass tops, spans fourteen feet in total length. Total cost, including delivery and installation, was $5900.
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