Trestle Table in Black Walnut

Discovering Design

The discovery of the life within the wood and the relationships they form is exciting to uncover. The early decisions are heavy. Every other act in the process is a response to these chalk marks as they try to hear and echo this walnut tree’s voice.

Underpinning Art with Discipline

The romance of the craft is backed up by countless hours of “mundane” work- the discipline that builds skill, and makes up the real life of labor. Days are spent creeping up on this scribed relationship and the foundational joinery. It’s a blessing to work, and to rest in the presence, at the same while striving towards the goal. Don’t mistake me, I’ve only had enough meager success at it to know it’s possible. 

Technology – Joinery

One side of the natural edge was curving away on bottom edge so I had to cut a shallow rebate in order to have a solid joint as well as cleanly scribed edge. This edge was reinforced with dominoes. The opposing edge curved towards the bottom edge and could be cut square. For it I made a floating contoured spline from Baltic birch. Assembled dry all is tight and solid.

Visualize and Establish Form

Finding a way to visualize the elements in a design is an engaging challenge. Krenov spoke of “composing”, and I’ve adopted his method and language -clamping up and mocking up relationships as the process moves forward. I don’t recall if he used tape, but I recently switched from using blue tape to white tape to mask off shapes- the difference is remarkable. 

Labor – Engaging Harvest

The last bit of joinery for the individual trestles is the horizontal rail completing the “H” form, which will eventually carry the longer rail that will join the two trestles together.

I’m grateful for this job, this material, this process. I heard a song that had a line which proclaimed “I am the record of His grace”.

Crosstimber Tables

These images document a build in its early stage of a family of black walnut tables, centered around a richly grained and beautifully colored walnut tree which we salvaged from a farm near Winfield, Kansas.  The tables are a collaboration between my best friend/business partner and myself, sharing designing and building tasks to create, what we hope, are some authentically good pieces of furniture in the continuing tradition of live-edge/natural-slab furniture.

Walnut Long Table

The following are a series of photos of the construction of what I have chosen to call a “walnut long table”, featuring a large center cut black walnut slab about 2″ thick from Fall River, KS.   The legs are also black walnut from Boaz, KS.

Butterfly sockets along the seasoning check.

Removing material for a large sliding dovetail and dado for the cross brace.

Sawing the slope inside of the dovetail-dado (dovetail bit in router not deep enough).

Legs.

Fitting the legs.  Lower right is a view of the end of the sliding-dovetail on the brace.

Settled on steel bolts over mating the legs to the brace with another sliding dovetail.

View from the “South” end of the table.

From the “North”.