I was first commissioned to make this side table by a wonderful client who had found the design online. She liked the walnut and the soft, minimal lines, but wanted a darker, more unctuous finish and something handmade.
Now, this is a regular item available for purchase through my Etsy shop, along with a few other creations: https://tulawoodworking.etsy.com
What you see—this dark, almost purple effect—is created through many thin layers of dyed shellac applied with a cotton and linen cloth. This application technique, open-pore French polishing, creates a glossy, durable surface without the buildup or gumminess of modern plastic finishes.
The shellac itself comes from India and is a special formulation. Called button lac, it has been heated over coals until molten, then squeezed into poker-sized chips that harden and eventually are dissolved in alcohol to be applied as wood finish.
There’s a wonderful video of the process here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIb6ZvHh4bU
As with the finish, the construction of this table is entirely hand done. Each component is meticulously cut, planed, scraped, and fit with old tools that take years to learn. Even the brass fixtures are made in shop.
If you like this approach but the size or color isn’t right, I am happy to alter the design. I can provide 3D sketches, color samples, and phone consultations.
Woods I work with include walnut, cherry, sapele, and quartersawn oak. I use natural, low- (or no-) VOC finishes that are safe for children and pets—no petrochemicals. As much as possible, my supplies are sustainably and ethically sourced from small businesses.
Thanks for looking and have a great day!
Do NOT contact this poster with unsolicited services or offers.