Walnut Hatchet Fin

 

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Around two years ago, I found a really sweet piece of walnut. It was someones off-cut, clear as day, being weirdly thin and not quite rectilinear.  The lighter edge will tell you that this piece has a splash of outer layer wood contrasting the dark heartwood grain. I was able to sketch a fin on this gold piece of  scrap, create a diagonal cut, and insert my own walnut and oak endgrain checker pattern. The 21 1/2 squares are blocked by thin maple stringers, clamped between the walnut. Great project, but only time will tell if this fin ever sees time in the ocean. For now its a cool show piece.

Fish Table

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Around a year ago I made a coffee table top that just never seemed to form legs. My wood skills at that point in time weren’t quite up to motivating myself for such as task, thus they, and my plank, sat on my architecture studio desk for an entire semester, then my home basement, and even survived a move. Somewhere in this hardwoods’ journey from central Virginia to Southern Maine, it lost its orthogonal form. The bandsaw turned a rectangle into a stubby walnut fish shape plank too out of touch with scale to create anything useful. It was a beautiful accident.

 

43378879915_d4eb0c1428_o.jpgThis summer I created a rectangular base with tapered maple legs, walnut crossing points, and a mahogany skirt. Some parts I shaped at Chewonki. Holding the final iteration in my basement, looking for a top,I remembered the fish. They fit together perfectly.

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Walnut Picture Frame

 

I recently heard a short story about value. It goes something like this. A well known artist sketches a quick diagram on a napkin. It took very little time and resources, only a pen and a delicate material most wouldn’t even consider paper. The artist proceeds to offer their piece for sale and she finds an interested client. Naively, the client expects to obtain it for a minimal cost. The artist, however, refuses. This drawing didn’t take two minutes they claimed, it took all of my life to reach this level of proficiency. For that reason alone, she justified a high price tag.

While not for sale, this finished frame gained some interest in value. Were one to be attached, I wouldn’t know what to ask. First, to make this frame, I hand selected two salvaged pieces of black walnut from a scrap bin, planed and cut them down to matching dimensions, then began designing their final “L” shape. Precise table saw cuts helped them achieve a near perfect geometry. Next, I trimmed the corners diagonally with a miter saw, prepping the joints for bonds via glue and nails. I ended up with a sound rectangle on my second attempt (Four clamps providing force in eight directions can get dicey). Copious amounts of work went into sanding the structure, polishing, and devising a plan for a glass inlay. I ended up resting the glass with a bit of gorilla glue in the four corners. That way it stays in place with zero shifting, but most of the pressure is offered from the thick cardboard backing instead, held in place at eight critical points. This also serves as the photo backing. 

The photograph tells a unique story too. A slow exposure of a 40m waterfall, pouring into a small lagoon, labeled “Grand Staircase – Escalante” taken March 2018. Some may relate to not so small journey required for photography. Slow shutter knowledge, nd filters, and raw post processing are just a few of the hurdles I overcame to get the shot, in addition to years of composition with my Fuji x100s. Throw in the fact that my girlfriend and I traveled to Southern Utah for this location, which is actually the middle of nowhere, but happens to reside near Escalante and hiked in several miles to be greeted with freezing cold waterfall spray on an already brisk spring morning.

My point is that considerable effort, time, and creativity went in to crafting this piece from the outer bones, to the photograph, and everything in between. One could claim this only took me a few days work in May or this frame’s fruition is the culmination of an intense charrette in which all of my worldly design skills were tapped into — photography, woodworking, conceptual ability…

 

Wood: free

Labor: 10 Hours

Expertise: 2-3 years

Glass : $2 from Goodwill

White Matte Window: $2.75

11x 17 Photograph: $15.65 

Rough Cost of my project: 2-3 years and $19.38

(Cost of Tripod, Camera, and Adventuring were offset)