Huston and Company custom handcrafted conference table Maine hardwood

Ragin’ Slabs

This past fall Saer Huston occupied much of his time here with two unique pieces of custom furniture for an investment firm in NJ, Raging Capital Management.

A furniture-making friend, the Lead Instructor at The Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, Aled Lewis, approached Bill Huston with a sketch for a conference table and credenza he had designed for Raging Capital. He had the designs fairly well worked out, but couldn’t build it on his own with his teaching schedule. He was hoping to hand the project over to Huston & Company to build for his client. He and Bill collaborated on the final elements of the designs, wood types and minute details. Saer was given the task of building both pieces.

Huston and Company custom handcrafted conference table Maine hardwood

The conference table top consisted of two huge, bookmatched walnut slabs, purchased specifically for this table with input from the client, Raging Capital. Bill visited the website of Good Hope Hardwoods (PA) and chose appropriate slabs for the project and forwarded pictures to the client for approval. Once the two bookmatched slabs were chosen, Good Hope Hardwoods shipped them to Maine. The slabs weighed in at over 300lbs each. They were a sight. Each measured over 180” in length and about 4” thick.

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Just cutting the general shape of the tabletop from the slabs took two full days. Too large and cumbersome for any of our tablesaws, Saer had to cut the slabs with a handheld circular saw. The slabs were too thick for the circular saw, so he made one pass on one surface, flipped the slab over (with some help from Kyle and Josh) and another pass from the other side. All the while, each slab straddled across two workbenches because of its length.

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And because the slabs were too large and cumbersome to work through our planer, Saer took them down to a workable thickness using the CNC router – many passes back and forth just removing material, one slab at a time.

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The table base was also made of solid walnut. Aled’s design called for a massive structure of split legs and hefty cross rails under the tabletop. The base itself is a work of art and a substantial and impressive bit of furnituremaking. I almost felt it was a shame to put a tabletop over it, but then again, the tabletop was just as impressive. The final table measures 144”L x 51”W.

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The finished table is stunning (see also picture at top of post).

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Next on Saer’s bench was the complementary sideboard. It’s a fairly complicated piece, with an interior of white oak, an exterior of black walnut, recessed back and side panels, two drawers and a base of solid white oak that mimics the base of the table. It has ventilation for A/V equipment and the front doors open downward, instead of sideways. The finished credenza measures 78”L x 16.5”D.

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Both pieces were delivered in mid October. The folks at Raging Capital are very happy with their furniture, and Aled Lewis is pleased to see his designs come to life and his client happy. Saer, who built both of these pieces almost single handedly, has put another notch in his workbench.

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(Saer Huston)