This project stems from a recent conversation with my friend Jason. Jason had just bought a new home and, sadly, began filling it with IKEA furniture. Luckily, he longed for a conversation-starter piece, something that would set off his living room and draw people to it. It just so happened that I had a new batch of Peruvian walnut in my shop and a few ideas in mind. 

This glowing table is the result. Inside sits two hand-carved rainbow trout placed carefully atop a carved rock bottom. The smaller river rocks were added after the carved rocks were placed. 

Jason had asked that I replicate the specific stream that he and his brother fished as kids. Now we’re talking…time for a little on the water “research”. I found some eager sea-run cutthroat near woody structure, so I decided it was best to add this element inside the table.  With a little luck I located some unique cedar pieces to add depth.

Beneath the circular cedar piece sits a small crawdad, safely tucked away from the hungry fish.

As part of my initial sketch, I had incorporated a river-themed pattern to the exterior of the table. As you can see, the effect was stunning, with a continuing pattern that travels around the entire table.

Character is essential in any piece, and this table has plenty to spare. The Peruvian walnut offers an amazing blend of light and dark grain patterns. A key is to select the unique patterns by sifting through the stacks of rough-cut lumber. The end result is seamless miters and amazing contrast.

To finish the piece, I chose an old standby: semi-gloss polyurathane. The top feature five coats, each sanded with 400 and 600-grit sandpaper between coats.

There is no doubt everyone who visits Jason's will know he is a diehard fisherman and lover of the outdoors.

If you are interested in a custom coffee table, end table, or have a design that represents your love for the outdoors, please contact me at:, or visit my blog at:

Thanks for reading!