GARY A. LEAKE WOODWORKING

 

"All About Yew III"

Hall Table

Birdseye Pacific Yew with Appalachian Black Cherry

The third and most unique of a very limited series of four pieces of whimsical yet functional art furniture inspired by its namesake the Pacific yew.

A log of 250 year-old Pacific yew (Taxus brevifolia) was sawn to create the spectacular slabs that form the tabletop and lower shelf of this unique table. The upper edges have been hand beveled to highlight the striking sapwood.

Pacific yew 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 black cherry (Prunus serotina) timber that has been specifically selected to compliment the heartwood 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.

Hand–cut mortise-and-tenon joints have been used throughout to add strength and stability to the table.

The table has been hand finished with oil-varnish 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. Properly aged, crafted and finished Pacific yew and cherry timbers rival any other wood in the world for their stability, durability, pattern and deep patina that will develop over time. This character will intensify over time, as the grain gains more depth as it ages.

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: 42 inches in width, 13-5/8 inches in depth (legs), 8-3/4 in depth (nominal top), 30 inches in height