GARY A. LEAKE WOODWORKING
"What's the Point?"
Oregon Black Walnut
The chair before you is meant to intrigue the viewer – cone shaped legs leading to a sensuous sculpted seat that in turn draws ones gaze upward along the chair’s back. At the very top, the back terminates in a manner that invites one to muse and ask the question posed in the title…
The basis for this piece of wood art began with the discovery of the magnificent piece of unusual grained, natural edged Oregon black walnut (American black walnut [Juglans nigra] crossed with Claro walnut [Juglans hindsii]) that created the ‘pointed’ back of this work of art. In addition to the wonderful grain, the piece selected for the chair back exhibits a rare, well defined yet colorful boundary between the darker heartwood and the outer layers of the tree.
To compliment the chair back, two pieces of highly figured ‘flame’ Oregon black walnut were used to create the artistic yet functional saddle-sculpted seat. Though warped and twisted, the timbers 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 bit of natural edge that retains much of the rustic features of the tree of origin.
Hand-turned Oregon black walnut has been used to fashion the triad of whimsical, descending cone-shaped legs. Lacking lower support members, the success of the chair’s design depends upon precise hand-fit, blind, wedged (two hidden wedges per leg) mortise-and-tenon joints (Japanese jigoku-kusabi joinery technique) for permanent attachment of the legs to the seat slab. The same method of joinery has been utilized to permanently attach the back to the seat thus ensuring a sturdy piece that will stand the test of time over many generations.
The chair has been hand finished with a durable lacquer finish to highlight the natural color and protect the beautiful character of the dark timbers while giving the chair 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: 19-3/4 inches in width, 21-1/2 inches in overall depth, 41-1/2 inches in height