GARY A. LEAKE WOODWORKING

 

"Blue Lagoon"

Corner Table

Oregon Black Walnut with American Black Walnut and Stained Glass

For lovers of the color blue, few experiences are as rewarding to the eye or as moving to the soul as looking into a deep body of cold water. This piece of wood art reminds the artist of his first look into an Australian lagoon.

The basis for this piece of wood art began with the discovery of the small yet magnificent piece of Oregon black walnut (American black walnut [Juglans nigra] crossed with Claro walnut [Juglans hindsii]) that created the top for this work of art. Discovered during English Botanist Richard B. Hinds’ 1836-1842 around-the-world voyage, was a new species of black walnut trees growing in southern Oregon and northern California. Oregon black walnut is highly prized due to the wide range of vivid colors exhibited within the timber.

A very unusual piece of natural-edged Oregon black walnut was used to create the top and lower spreaders of the table. Though warped, twisted, checked and split the timber showed just a teasing hint of the special character that lay underneath the ragged exterior - a unique combination of a large natural void reminiscent of an undiscovered lake; wavy grain; evidence of long-dead borers that retain much of the rustic features of the tree of origin; and just enough chatoyance (opalescence reminiscent of looking into a cat’s eyes) to add interest.

The book-matched table legs have been fabricated from a single plank of American black walnut (Juglans nigra) selected to contrast with and complement the intense color/grain of the upper and lower longitudinal surfaces. 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. The success of the design depends upon precise hand-chiseled blind double-wedged (two hidden wedges per leg) mortise-and-tenon joints (Japanese jigoku-kusabi joinery technique) for permanent attachment of the legs to the upper slab. Blind mortise-and-tenon joints have also been utilized to permanently attach the lower spreaders to the legs.

The table has been hand finished to highlight the natural color and protect the beautiful character of the dark 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 piece.

Provenance: 3rd Place in 3-D Art 47th Annual Historic Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival Juried Art Show (2010)

Dimensions: 17-1/8 to 17-7/8 inches wide/deep (top), 31 inches in height