Tortoise Shell Quilted Mahogany Case-On-Chest
The primary wood, forming the front and drawers of the Tortoise Shell Quilted Mohogany Case-On-Chest is the very rare Tortoise Shell Quilted Mahogany, solid not veneer. The side casework is of Plum Pudding Honduran Mahogany, another very rare wood. The tree that yielded the Tortoise Shell Mahogany was felled in 1965 in the Chicibul Jungle in Honduras. It was recovered from a deep ravine in 1982 and harvested. Well over 120 feet high and 10 feet around, the first branches we 50 feet up the trunk. Only three trees in the past century have been identified with this pattern of blistered ribbons, surrounded by thin black lines, rendering the tortoise shell effect.
Inspired by classical motifs, The Tortoise Shell Quilted Mahogany Case-On-Chest was designed and made by Master Ébéniste-Cabinetmaker W. Maliszewski. It is hand-joined with 130 knuckle-tight dovetails. The dust boards are fitted with long sliding dovetails to allow movement of the cross grain Plum Pudding Mahogany sides. The color is a proprietary deepening of the natural presentation of the mahogany, finished by French Polishing and bee’s wax.
London Joiners Ltd. possess the only remaining boards of Tortoise Shell Quilted Mahogany. Many are over 23 inches wide and are book-matched.
One board, a candidate for re-sawing through the bole, is 2 ½ inches thick by 43 inches wide by 11 feet in length. Such would yield a matched table top of about 7 feet wide by 11 feet long. London Joiners Ltd. also offer smaller commissions of the same wood.
Fig. 1: photo by Stuart Simons
Figs. 2-3: photos by John Kelsey