JoeWoodworker Veneer
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Have you ever had a moment where it just felt good to stare at something?

It could be anything: a flower, an insect, even a pencil on a desk. Somehow, your eyes get a glimpse of an object that they just can't let go. It's an unusual opportunity to slow down and take a breath. This table gives your eyes that all too uncommon chance to relax and enjoy doing so. The pattern of light leaves you mesmerized. As these brilliant colors gently fade across the table, you find once again, that elusive chance to gaze, unwind, and savor the moment.

This sofa table made of solid cherry and a walnut burl veneer top has been accentuated by 835 strands of .5 millimeter fiber optic filament. This size filament is about twice the thickness of human hair. A total of 2500 feet of fiber was used.

Each strand is bundled together at a low voltage light source and filtered by a color wheel that is "programmed" to provide a special sparkle to the top of the table. The color wheel can be replaced with other wheels that will allow countless variations of color. I have found that a blue and white color wheel is very pleasing to the eye. Another color wheel I have used, lights up only a fraction of the fibers at any given moment giving the table a twinkling effect reminiscent of the stars at night.

The lighting device is controlled by a motion sensor which triggers a three minute light show. A halogen light bulb is used that is bright enough for daylight viewing. When the light is off, the fibers assume the color of the burl top and are practically invisible.

After designing and building the electronics, I set out to design a base that would house the electronics and 5" color wheel. Though the table's "apron" is only 4 inches high, I managed to get the electronics assembly into body and still have room for the fibers to remain untouched by the moving color wheel.

The cabriole legs are the result of countless templates and mockups. The search for a comfortable leg design was, perhaps, the most daunting task of the project. Mortise and tenon joinery was used to attach the legs.

Drilling such a large quantity of small holes isn't easy. I used a Dremel tool and its companion drill press (slightly modified). Click here to see the picture.

The table is finished with a tinted lacquer and rubbed with rottenstone to a satin sheen. The hardware is similar in appearance to pewter and is a perfect match for cherry.

Because of other woodworking obligations, this table took me over a year to complete. However, the actual labor involved with this project was about 120 hours from design to the completion.



Fiber Optic Table

Click here for a rough simulation of the light effects.

Daylight view

Evening view

Mid-construction view
of the fibers

Close up of edge profile

Click on any picture to enlarge

A smaller fiber optic table

Yes, Joe is a practicing Catholic
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