How we make Ribbon Side Tables

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People frequently ask us how we make the Ribbon Side Table. It’s truly not that difficult. Like many detailed projects, the trick is to break the complexity down into manageable steps. For the Ribbon Table the first step is the same as any woodworking project…really good basic millwork to make straight edges and flat surfaces that can be developed into more complex components.

Here is a picture of us laying out the freshly milled blocks of wood and chalking out your design. If you can’t draw it, you can’t carve it, so always lay everything out. Remember: chalk erases easier than chisel marks.

Laying out the wood

Once we have the general layout chalked out, we then cut all the edges and sort out the joints. These things are always easier to sort out when we are working with straight edges. Everything is then trimmed down on a bandsaw and re-assembled. As you can see, everything is starting to look like a Ribbon Side Table!

Joining the pieces before we carve them

So at this point our design is chalked out and we know the parts fit together. It’s time to artsy…

When we carve something it can involve chisels, gouges, a Dremel, or even a grinder. We use whatever gets the material into the shape we’re looking for. It’s often an enormous mess. The point is results matter, not the tool, so explore different tools and see what works for you before you spend lots of money on fancy chisels.

Lastly, when you carve something, before you start it’s important to think about they key features that will catch the client’s eye. For a Ribbon Table it’s symmetry. The flow of the lines can go anyway you want, but the left side needs to look like the right side and so on. To do that we carve one section at a time, then repeat it on the other side until we have two matching pieces. In other words we don’t carve the entire left side then the right. We do one section on the left, then repeat that section on the right until both sides are complete.

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