GARY A. LEAKE WOODWORKING

 

"Walnut Secrets"

Hall Table

Oregon Black Walnut with American Black Walnut

A prime example of a timber so magnificent that it reveals one of nature’s secrets: an extraordinary ability to manifest a complex form from basic elements and thus provide the beautiful timber that defines this special piece of art.

 

The basis for this piece of wood art began with the discovery of the 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, 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 natural-edged Oregon black walnut was used to create the top and lower long-spreader of the table. Though warped, twisted, checked and split the timber showed just a teasing hint of the special character that lay underneath the ragged exterior - a unique combination of well defined heartwood-to-sapwood transition; wild/tiger grain; multiple birdseye and small knots; evidence of long-dead borers that retain much of the rustic features of the tree of origin; and exceptional chatoyance (opalescence reminiscent of looking into a cat’s eyes). Note that evidence that the unique cut of the large plank was accomplished via a chain saw has been retained: a look at the underside reveals hints of the original chain-saw tracks.

 

The book-matched table legs and short-spreaders have been fabricated from a single plank of American black walnut (Juglans nigra) selected to contrast with and complement the intense color/grain of the upper and lower longitudinal surfaces. The legs have been hand-tapered on the two inner sides to add a feeling that the table is standing up on its toes a bit. The success of the design depends upon precise hand-chiseled blind mortise-and-tenon joints (Japanese jigoku-kusabi joinery technique) for permanent attachment of all pieces.

 

The table has been hand finished to highlight the natural color and protect the beautiful character of the dark 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 piece. This piece has been entered in the artist’s permanent registry.

Dimensions: 43 inches in width, 8-3/4 to 12 inches in depth (top), 12-1/2 inches in depth (overall), 30 inches in height