Where Art and Craftsmanship Merge
Recently I had the opportunity to participate in a charity auction benefitting one of Houston’s premier arts organization Diverse Works. The event was called “Art Design Life” and was held at Match in midtown Houston. At this event, several vignettes were arranged featuring designs and pieces from local designers, makers and other vendors. Each vignette had a theme of sorts, and all of the pieces in the vignette were available for auction.
I designed and built this handmade wood console table just for the auction. It is made from solid cherry hardwoods and topped by a waterfall of heavily figured Quilted Maple. I had previously spotted the Maple at my favorite mill in New England and bought it immediately because of its outstanding figure, even though I didn’t have any particular project in mind for it. So when I was planning this auction piece, I knew immediately that I wanted to include the Quilted Maple.
Creating a Waterfall Design
Since the Maple wasn’t especially large, I decided to show it off as much as possible by making it a waterfall over the edge of the Cherry table, which itself is a waterfall style. The Cherry had some nice color variation in it which enhanced the natural appeal of the wood. The lighter areas of the Cherry are called “sapwood” which is often cut off from the “heartwood” to create a more uniform color. In this case, I decided to leave it on.
The design is known as a “waterfall” because of the way the wood appears to flow over an edge. This effect is created by cutting the wood at the point of the “waterfall” at a 45-degree angle, and then “folding” the piece over to create the waterfall effect.
I always add “mortise and tenon” joinery to make the joint strong. Tenons are simply a piece of wood that protrudes from one piece and that fits into a perfectly shaped recess (mortise) in the mating piece. Then both pieces are glued together to create the waterfall.
This entire piece is finished with hand rubbed penetrating oil. I use a special European plant-based product that is actually marketed to commercial flooring contractors. It looks great and gives excellent protection. I also love the fact that there are no solvents and no VOC’s, which means there are no bad fumes and off-gasses to contend with.
I attended the auction itself with my wife, Cynthia. We had a lovely time seeing all the other great pieces on display, eating great food and mingling with the crowd. Cynthia found some lovely jewelry pieces which she bought.
A day or two after the auction, I had the pleasure of meeting the family who bought my piece, and they were kind enough to stop for a photo op with me just before loading it in their SUV.