Here are some questions I've been asked about my work. If you have other questions,
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WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START MAKING THESE TABLES?
I inherited a table made by George Nakashima, who made an art form out of live edge furniture. As I studied Nakashima’s style, I saw how I might expand on — and develop — my own vision.
HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHAT TO DESIGN AND CREATE?
I come up with ideas that I’d like to explore and I do custom design work. Ideas come from nature, interesting engineering structures, household objects — wherever I am, I look for possibilities. When I’m buying my wood pieces, the shape of the wood itself often suggests a type of table. I came up with the idea for my “TableTop Tables” when I found pieces that were very interesting, but too small to be conventional tables.
Every piece in my galleries has an Item Number, so that potential buyers can tell me if a particular style catches their eye. We can then discuss what they are looking for — considering elements such as use, size, woods, etc.
WHERE DID YOU LEARN TO MAKE THESE KINDS OF TABLES?
I never found any classes that taught this – so I had to teach myself. I do my own experiments and try out ideas — first in cardboard, then plywood, and then in fine lumber. I like to see pieces in space to evaluate their structure, form, proportions. Good woodworking magazines (like “Fine Woodworking”) help with technical issues.
WHAT IS "LIVE EDGE" WOOD?
“Live edge” pieces are cut from a tree so that they include part of the outer edge of the tree, under the bark. These edges are the “natural edge” of the tree (and they are sometimes referred to that way). Live edges, I believe, bring the viewer closer to this material as being part of a living tree.
WHY DO YOU USE THESE PARTICULAR WOODS IN YOUR TABLES?
Many people look for “perfect” pieces of wood to make furniture. I find a lot more interest in wood that has what others consider “imperfections” (such as cracks and knotholes). For me those “imperfections” create character, and invite a closer look. My favorite wood is big leaf maple burl, and I also like cherry, English elm, cherry, hickory, walnut. oak and maple.
WHAT ARE “BUTTERFLIES” AND WHY DO YOU USE THEM?
Butterflies are the bow-tie shaped pieces that are placed across open areas in the wood (cracks and natural gaps). They serve two purposes: (1) they make the piece of wood structurally sound, preventing movement in the wood, and keeping a crack from opening wider; and (2) they provide an opportunity to add decoration. I like to use exotic woods whose colors contrast with the wood in which they are embedded.
THE “LEGS" FOR MANY OF YOUR TABLES AREN’T CONVENTIONAL. WHY IS THAT?
I have a bit of an engineering and architectural bent, and think there are more interesting possibilities than I see with conventional legs. I experiment to see what might work. When I find an approach that’s promising, I incorporate it into a new table. I refer to these alternatives as “support structures.”
HOW DO YOU TAKE CARE OF THESE TABLES?
They all have multiple coats of a hard, polymerized tung oil. All they need is to be cleaned regularly with a damp cloth, or a non-oil-based furniture cleaner (including window cleaner). Polishes can actually damage the finish, though any piece can be cleaned up and re-finished. (My Aunt’s table had the same finish that I use. It had a number of water stains, from 50+ years of use — and those stains were gone after re-finishing.)