GARY A. LEAKE WOODWORKING
"All About Yew I"
Pacific Yew with Eastern Rock Maple
The first of a very limited series of four pieces of whimsical yet functional art furniture inspired by its namesake the Pacific yew.
Slab-sawn Pacific Yew (Taxus brevifolia) represents one of nature's most spectacular timbers with its fine-grained warm orange/red toned heartwood punctuated by dark chocolate-colored knots and hints of bird’s-eye highlights wrapped via a thin band of light-colored sapwood that shows just a trace of yellow against the darker heartwood. Pacific yew, also known as mountain mahogany has long been legendary for the durable and strong yet elastic timber used for harpoons, bows and canoe paddles. More recently the yew bark was used for cancer treatment research prior to the synthesizing of the ingredient Taxol.
The legs and short-spreaders have been fabricated from a single plank of highly figured Eastern rock maple (Acer saccharum) that has been specifically selected to compliment the light-colored sapwood of the Pacific yew. The legs have been hand-tapered on the two inner sides to add a feeling that the table is standing up on its toes a bit. Pacific yew has also been used to form the natural-edged lower horizontal spreader.
To add strength and stability to the table precise hand-chiseled double-wedged (two wedges per joint) blind mortise-and-tenon joints (Japanese jigoku-kusabi joinery technique) have been used for attachment of the rear legs to the upper slab. All remaining joints are hand-chiseled mortise-and-tenon method without wedges.
The table has been hand finished with a durable combination of oil-varnish and polyurethane to highlight the naturally contrasting range of colors and protect the beautiful patina of the timbers while giving the piece a warm feeling to the touch.
As with all of his wood art pieces the title of the piece, creation date and artist information has been permanently stamped on the underside of the table.
Dimensions: 38 inches in width, 12 inches in depth, 30 inches in height