GARY A. LEAKE WOODWORKING
American Black Walnut
Another prime example of nature’s extraordinary ability to manifest a complex form from two narrow planks structurally separated by a rift yet artistically joined into a cohesive top surface that defines this special piece of art.
The basis for this piece of wood art began with the discovery of the magnificent pair of matching American black walnut (Juglans nigra) timber quarter-sawn boards that created the top for this work of art. Though warped and twisted, the timber showed just a teasing hint of the special character that lay underneath the ragged exterior - a very unique combination of wavy vertical grain, intense cross-grain tigering, excellent chatoyance (opalescence reminiscent of looking into a cat’s eyes) and a rounded burl that retains much of the rustic features of the tree of origin. The pair of boards has been reversed and arranged to lie side-by-side with a definitive gap between them to accentuate the rippled, tigered-grain pattern.
The book-matched table legs and short spreaders, fabricated from a single plank of American black walnut that has been selected for grain, color and character have been ebonized to complement the tabletop. Though dyed black, the ebonizing technique passed to the artist by his Grandfather (also a cabinet maker/restorer) allows the natural grain of the walnut to be revealed. The legs have been hand-tapered on the two inner sides to accentuate the fine curved lines of the table while adding a feeling that the table is standing up on its toes a bit. The lower shelf has also been fashioned from black walnut.
To add strength and stability to the table precise hand-chiseled double-wedged (two wedges per joint) blind mortise-and-tenon joints (Japanese jigoku-kusabi joinery technique) have been used for attachment of the legs to the tabletop. Blind mortise-and-tenon joints have also been utilized to permanently attach the spreaders to the legs.
The table has been hand finished with a durable oil-varnish to highlight the natural color and protect the beautiful character of the walnut timber 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 piece.
Dimensions: 35 inches in width, 9-3/4 to 10-5/8 inches in depth (top), 30 inches in height