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”.

Big Horn Tables in Winfield Walnut

Last year, in collaboration with Crosstimbers Woodworking, we designed and built a series of coffee tables and end tables for the Big Horn River Lodge in Montana.  Most of the walnut was salvaged from the rejected timber from the logging of a farm in Winfield, Kansas.  Photographer Steve Hebert traveled to the lodge and captured some beautiful images of the tables for us.

Table Build in Red Oak Part 1

The following is part 1 of a photo essay on a rustic and a little bit twisty red oak hall table build.


Roughing out the leg spindles

Cutting the tenons to width

Establishing taper with a gouge

Breather, almost there

Leveling out with a jack plane

Down to size with the spoker

After shaping with an angle grinder and hand sanding through many grits

Leg # 2 at dawn

Side by side

Composing again

About 11 days left and a lot of work to go

Rustic Rocker in Eastern Red Cedar

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Cantilevered rocking chair in Eastern Red Cedar.  Yet to be oiled in these photos, but I like the softness and light on the forms of the unfinished cedar.


Natural-State Cedar Table

Some photos of the progression of the legs for a natural state  Eastern red cedar table.

Single leg with scribed branch support

Fitting the top supports

Sawing leg bottoms flat

Both legs with more branch braces and top support bolted on


A couple of  views of the table  so far.

One Dozen Rustic Rockers

Below are photos from the past week and one-half, building a dozen rocking chairs with a friend of mine for the Bighorn River Lodge in Montana.  The lumber is from a centenarian barn destroyed by a tornado last year.

Just one has the back for photography, they stack much better for shipping w/o.

dovetailed lower cross brace


etching the zinc from the hardware


Rustic, or Primitive-Style Split-Oak Chair

The frame for this chair was made from a “green” white oak (Quercus alba), or probably a post-oak (Quercus stellata) quite a few years ago.  The pieces were rounded with a draw-knife.  The seat was woven with hickory bark this afternoon.   To inquire about chairs email Jack,