GARY A. LEAKE WOODWORKING

 

"Chair with a Flare"

Chair

Arizona Desert Ironwood with Claro Black Walnut and African Bubinga

The chair before you has flare! As you view it decide for yourself whether the ‘flare’ reflects the shape of the chair’s seat, the uniqueness of the design, or a whimsical combination of both …

The basis for this piece of wood art began with the discovery of the magnificent piece of rare, natural-edged, borer-damaged Arizona desert ironwood (Olneya tesota) that created the chair back of this work of art. Like this piece of timber, the most valued and best-colored material comes from dead trees/logs that may have lain on the Sonoran Desert floor for decades. The timber is one of the hardest and densest woods in the world; even dried timber sinks when placed in water.

To compliment the ironwood chair back, a piece of highly figured Claro black walnut (Juglans boliviana) was used to create the artistic yet functional hand-sculpted seat. 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. Claro black walnut is highly prized due to the wide range of vivid colors, exotic figuring and chatoyance (opalescence reminiscent of looking into a cat’s eyes) exhibited within the timber.

Hand-turned, ebonized African bubinga (Guibourtia demeusei) has been used to fashion the whimsical, descending cone-shaped legs. Though dyed black, the ebonizing technique passed to the artist by his Grandfather (also a cabinet maker/restorer) allows the natural grain of the bubinga to be revealed. Lacking lower support members, the success of the chair’s design depends upon precise hand-fit blind mortise-and-tenon joints (Japanese jigoku-kusabi joinery technique) for attachment of the legs to the seat slab.

The chair has been hand finished to highlight the natural color and protect the beautiful character of the dark timbers while giving the chair 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.

Dimensions: 22 inches wide, 21-1/2 inches in overall depth, 39-3/4 inches in height