GARY A. LEAKE WOODWORKING

 

"Cherry Challenge"

Hall Table

Salvaged Bing Cherry with Appalachian Black Cherry

Without exception, every woodworker's dream is to discover a wonderful slab of timber and fashion it into a lovely table...

The Bing cherry (Prunus serotina) tabletop slab originally was salvaged from an old fruit orchard located on the east side of Lake Washington. Subsequently the slab traveled to Whidbey Island with the owner's relocation near Coupeville. Years passed as the slab collected dust with others from the same orchard. The artist acquired the slab with no specific design in mind. More time passed, then finally the imagination of the artist was receptive to the subtle musings of nature as expressed by the slab. Numerous long-dead borers and natural checking have enhanced the intense grain character of the tabletop.

The legs and lower shelf have been fashioned from highly figured black cherry (Prunus serotina). Each piece of timber has been carefully selected to compliment the overall design as well as the unique character of the tabletop. Black cherry has also been utilized for the butterfly keys used to stabilize areas that could otherwise further crack or split. Properly aged, crafted and finished cherry timber rivals any other wood in the world for its stability, durability, pattern and deep patina that will develop over time.

Traditional hand-cut joinery, blind double-wedged (two hidden wedges per leg) wedged mortise-and-tenon joints (Japanese jigoku-kusabi joinery technique) have been used for permanent attachment of the legs to the upper slab; blind half-dovetail wedged joints (modified Japanese sage-kama joinery technique) have been utilized to attach the lower shelf to two legs.

The table has been hand finished with a durable oil-varnish to highlight the natural color and protect the beautiful character of the cherry timbers while giving the table a warm feeling to the touch. This character will intensify over time, as cherry tends to darken and 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: 36-3/4 inches in length, 15 inches in width, 30 inches in height