GARY A. LEAKE WOODWORKING
American Black Walnut with African Zebrawood and Stained Glass
The natural void created by a long-dead branch within the walnut tree allowed for the timber to show it’s inner green…
The basis for this piece of wood art began with the discovery of a diminutive but ever so magnificent piece of American black walnut (Juglans nigra) that showed just a teasing hint of the special character that lay underneath the ragged exterior - a very unique combination of a natural void, wavy vertical and strong oval central grain and excellent chatoyance (opalescence reminiscent of looking into a cat’s eyes). The lower long spreader has also been fashioned from black walnut.
The matched set of legs has been crafted from a single plank of American black walnut. The legs have been hand-tapered on the two inner sides to compliment the fine curved lines of the table while adding a feeling that the table is standing up on its toes a bit. To compliment the color and grain of the tabletop, quarter-sawn zebrawood (Microberlinia brazzavillensis) has been used to fashion the pieces that run front-to-back.
The success of the design depends upon precise hand-fitted blind mortise and tenon joinery (Japanese jigoku-kusabi joinery technique) for attachment of the legs to the spreaders and housed dado joinery for attachment of the upper spreaders to the tabletop and lower long-spreader to the lower short-spreaders to form a sturdy piece that will stand the test of time.
The intense green inset is the result of four layers of stained glass placed over a piece of mirrored glass. The intent is to approximate the artist’s first impression when viewing into a large, rare emerald many years ago.
The table has been hand finished with a durable 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. 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. This piece has been entered in the artist’s permanent registry.
Dimensions: 18 inches in width, 14-1/4 inches in depth (overall, 9-3/8 to 11 inches in depth (top), 30-1/2 inches in height