GARY A. LEAKE WOODWORKING

 

"Step It Up!"

Display Table

 

Oregon Black Walnut

with

American Black Walnut

 

 

The extremely wild and magnificent, yet whimsical nature of the grain reveals itself so powerfully as to drive not only the design of the artistic piece before you but also the name as it dares the artist to step up to the challenge…

 

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, Claro walnut 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 Oregon black walnut was used to create the top and lower shelves of the table. Though somewhat rough the timber showed just a teasing hint of the special character that lay underneath the ragged exterior - a unique combination of wild and engaging quilted-figuring; inspiring color variation throughout; a lovely, subtle sap-to-heartwood transition; and exceptional chatoyance (opalescence reminiscent of looking into a cat’s eyes).

 

The book-matched set of table legs, fabricated from a single plank of American black walnut (Juglans nigra) has been selected for grain, color and character to complement the tabletop. The legs have been hand-tapered on the two inner sides to compliment the fine lines of the table while adding a feeling that the table is balancing on its toes. Finally, to balance the design as well as compliment the other timbers, a curvaceous pair of lower shelves was added.

 

The success of the design depends upon precise hand-chiseled double-wedged through mortise-and-tenon joints (Japanese wari-kusabi joinery technique) 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 shelves to the legs.

 

The table has been hand finished with a durable teak oil to highlight the natural color and protect the beautiful character of the timbers while giving the table 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: 16-7/8 inches in width, 14-1/4 to 14-5/8 inches in depth, 30 inches in height