I built this round walnut table for a young family over the summer and into the fall. The base is mortise and tenon. I hoped for it to carry some of the feeling of the vaulted interior of a timber framed barn. The wood for the base came from gun stock maker in Wichita who gave me some timber from his stock before he passed away. The wood for the top was harvested from my friend’s land near Fall River, Kansas.
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”.
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.
These bowls are all for sale in our Etsy Store if you are interested. Thanks for looking.
After about five months the Champion Table is finished and in its new home outside of Chicago. The woods in this table are Kansas Black Walnut and White Oak (the base uses oak from Kansas, the top uses oak of lesser known origin, beyond my friend, the lumber man), the top features also a small amount of Ebony and sulfur. The design is original, and evolved throughout the building process. Central, is a crucifixion theme and the arc. There are other symbolic elements as well, throughout. I am deeply grateful to the Champion family for the opportunity to build a significant piece of furniture for their home and living. I am also humbled and thankful for all the encouragement I have received throughout the building process. Ultimately I am glad in my heart, laboring to make something that celebrates the goodness of God.
That’s it for this round- next week there will be lots of sanding, also carving and inlay work as the table finally starts to become unified. Thank you to everyone for following along, and for your encouraging comments.