Bill Roberts, Ornamental MetalsmithCustom Design Metal Arts by BILL ROBERTS, Ornamental Metalsmith

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14' long Traditional Style Table

This forged table with intricate detail, was inspired by a wall mount console table that the client purchased at an auction in Europe. The original was made in the 1890's, a time when craftsmanship and attention to detail was of utmost importance. The client wanted a free standing table (for his wine tasting room, in his wine cellar) that would go with the 1890's console. Replicating work of this caliber is always a challenge and a pleasure. Armed with photos and one double scroll leg element of the original table the journey begins........... the new table base would support a wooden top that would be 14' long, 50" wide and 2 3/4" thick. A very large table by any standards. This in and of itself dictated design. The table needed to disassembled, for shipping and ease of installation in the wine cellar.

The materials: Mild steel. Various sizes of solid bar stock and 16 ga sheet.

The process: All the solid material was hammer textured with the power hammer prior to fabrication. The leaf work was repousse'd from 16 ga. mild steel sheet. The majority of the repousse' work was done cold with the aid of a treadle hammer. Using a variety of dishing and veining toptools with a lead bottom tool for malleable resistance. Some of the more detailed acanthus leaves needed to be annealed to avoid splitting.

The finish: was a five step process. First the table was sandblasted. Then with the aid of a rose bud torch, stove polish was applied to the hot metal. This was then hand rubbed with a scotchbrite pad that brought out all the highs and lows of the details, and leaving a gunmetal gray finish. To preserve this finish, linseed oil was baked on. A mahogany acrylic was dry brushed on all the leaves, forged balls and acorns. The leaf work was then accented with just a touch of gold highlights. The finish was applied by an associate, named Chris. I wish I could remember his last name.

Approx. labor time: Design and fabrication, 650 hours.

I had the pleasure and most enjoyable challenge of making this table while I was at Klahm and Son's. They got the money and the recognition.....I had all the fun.

Photo of the 1890's wall mount console table that was the inspiration for the 14' table design.

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