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Designs and Finishes – Part 2

April 14, 2009

In 1983, our patron Rodgers Menzies commissioned joe to make a table with these features:

– Resemble an antique table that was roughly cobbled together in the 1790’s in the backwoods of Eastern Tennessee

– Have a rectangular frame

– Include an inset parquet starburst on the top

– Be finished in a stained wood

At that time, Niermann Weeks was just learning how to do stained finishes, since Joe’s forte is painted finishes.  Give the man a paint brush, and he can perfectly imitate any finish.  We called him the King of Faux Finishes, but the market wanted us to also provide some stained finishes.  Rodger’s commission just fed right into that need.

So, Joe chose to make this table of cherry, a native American hardwood that would have grown abundantly in the Appalachian Mountains in Colonial times.  For that matter, it still does and is now farmed to provide a good sustainable hardwood for the furnishing industry.  He and Rodgers exchanged drawings (in the days before fax machines and scanners) and the first rough sketch was approved:


The carcass took several more deliberations to develop its shapee.  Joe designed the drawer to run under the long side of the table top, hidden in the apron construction.  He named the final finish Antique Pearwood for reasons that I no longer remember, but that made sense at the time. Finally the table looked like this:


Rodgers loved “his” table and ordered it a lot.  He allowed us to put it in our line, and designers started ordering it in its standard version as well as in a  myriad of custom versions.

A bedside table with a drawer and enclosed shelves


The standard size and shape, but in weathered oak finish


In a fancy painted finish with the drawer hidden along the narrow side


Then designers ordered our rectangular table in a custom round shape so often that we introduced two round versions.  They both have a drawer, but one includes a shelf as the stretcher, while the smaller on is more plain.


The shape took off in many custom forms, and recently we made one look really elegant with antiqued mirror facing.  This tables’ come a long way from its humble Appalachian roots.


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