GARY A. LEAKE WOODWORKING
Oregon Black Walnut with Australian Kerosene Wood
The table before you is meant to intrigue the viewer – a simple yet functional base holding a sensuous table-top plate that in turn draws ones gaze further upward. Suspended above it all is a matched set of ‘y’-shaped crotch pieces inviting 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 Oregon black walnut (American black walnut [Juglans nigra] crossed with Claro walnut [Juglans hindsii]) that created the table-top of this special work of art. In addition to the wonderful oval grain, the piece selected includes an understated natural void near the center.
To compliment the table-top, a rare Australian kerosene wood (Erythroxylum ellipticum) crotch was carefully sawed into a book-matched set of pieces that float above the top surface and accentuate the natural void. Sourced from the Northern Territory, kerosene wood (also known as turpentine tree) is so named because its green branches and twigs burn readily. Kerosene wood represents one of nature's most spectacular timbers with its unique combination of well-defined dark reddish-brown heartwood framed by contrasting lighter colored sapwood and just enough chatoyance (opalescence reminiscent of looking into a cat’s eyes) to add interest. The small trees of this species are important food sources for the larvae of some butterflies and moths, including the beautiful Ulysses butterfly which can have a wingspan up to 5-1/2 inches.
The entire table base was fabricated from a single plank of Oregon black walnut selected to contrast with and complement the intense color/grain of the upper longitudinal surfaces. 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 to create a table that will last for generations.
The table has been hand finished with a durable finish 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.
Dimensions: 22 inches in width, 11-3/4 inches in depth, 31 inches in height