Back in 2009, I wrote a story for our local newspaper about a tree, a local landmark that had to come down because it was beginning to show signs of rot. This prestigious tree held the record of being the largest red maple in Washington state and the second-largest red maple in North America. The removal of this tree drew a lot of attention, and I decided to take on the task of stewarding the bole and some of the limbs for the sake of posterity.
Mark Lombard, the owner of our local hardwood store, took on the task of shepherding the cut wood and put it on the market. In less than a week, it was all sold. I kept only a few small limb slabs from the tree for making coffee tables: one for the tree’s owner and one for a good friend. I’ve tried to follow the histories of the slabs, but that has proven difficult.
Kathi, my good friend, wanted a low-sitting, seven-foot-long table made out of one of the branches of the tree, and I began working on it a few weeks ago. The finished table will sit only 12” off the floor, underneath a wall-to-wall picture window in her living room. Kathi and her husband want a few of their favorite river rocks inset into the top so, when finished, it will look like water flowing around the rocks. The cathedral grain in the wood serves to represent the flow of water, and the ripples on the edge of the board, placed there by nature, conveniently enhance this effect, making it look like ripples in the bend of a river or creek bed.
When viewed from across the room, carved walnut trees with extended branches will represent of the Earth reaching up to hold the river for viewing. Totally fung shui.
I started with a small clay model, and I’ve worked my way from glued up blocks to the carving of the first branch. Time. It all takes time.
One trunk roughed out
and rasped down flat to the right height.
Thinking about that extending branch …
I decided the branch should twist around and up, so I cut it short in preparation for creating a double bevel. Then I’ll mortise the longer piece onto it before carving.
It’s been a good beginning. I’ll continue to post my progress.
Thanks for looking,