Repurposing Rosewood

A pair of repurposed rosewood benches that we made about a year ago have found a new home.

At the end of 2019, at the dawn of the Covid-19 pandemic, I got the idea for these benches from some old Amazon rosewood given to me by a Napa friend, who happens to share my first name.

This Bob’s grandparents, returning from a career as Baptist missionaries in the Amazon some 50 years ago, brought back furniture, of which Bob C. retained several small table leaves.  He offered me the leaves, asking only that I find a use for them.

We planed off the leaves a bit and got a look at the raw wood, which seemed to be Amazon rosewood, and I decided to make a pair of benches, using the rosewood for the seats.  The rosewood stock was thin, but this dense wood was still quite stiff and heavy, well suited for this use.  The beefier elements are made of a contrasting species, this one a Guatemalan wood called Chichipate.

So the wood in these benches has distinct Latin American roots.  The design, on the other hand, is frankly inspired by the early 20th century work of Dutch furniture designer Gerrit Rietveld.  An exotic-wood takeoff, you might say, on the famous red and blue chair:

As in the red and blue chair, the frank use of thick and thin members becomes a design theme, and it turns out to be quite functional as well.  Now the benches have morphed into tables – not the first time that’s happened to a bench I made – as they settle into their new Napa home:

Robert Zlomke

4/19/21

Leave a Reply