Shimmering Elm

With some clients, one good thing follows another.

Just before Christmas one year, we were making a large modern dining table for a couple in Aberdeen using some beautiful Pippy Oak from The Black Isle. During one of their visits to our workshop, they spotted a wide board of golden coloured Elm from Old Aberdeen. There wasn't much burr but the wood had a beautiful rippled grain pattern. Both sides had natural edges. It was quite a wide board (around 700mm). There were several large knots at one end and some big splits at the other but there was around 1600mm of usable timber in the middle - just the right size and shape for a coffee table top.

We prepared several sketches and the design and price was agreed. Rather than a contemporary slab style base, they asked us to make the table in a classic four- legged design. The lower shelf was also to be supplied with natural edges. The lower stretcher rails were shaped to give the shelf a floating appearance and the outer rails were curved to the same radius as the top.

The table was built by one of our skilled cabinetmakers and given three coats of spray applied satin lacquer by Steve Gordon. Once the top had been lacquered, the Rippled Elm just came alive. It was very reflective wood and as you move past the table the grain of the wood seems to shimmer like a piece of fine silk in the sunlight.

The natural edges have just the right degree of variation. Some natural boards have edges that resemble the West coast of Scotland but these edges have a gently undulating shape, almost like a piece of driftwood.

Since making this table we've made one more in Oak and there's another in the pipeline to be made using Elm from the client's own tree. We think we’ll need to come up with a name for this design - any suggestions?