Formal Dining Set
Figured Claro Walnut, Tiger Maple
Table: 113"L x 53"W x 30"H Chairs: 20"W x 25"D x 50"H
The claro walnut for this set came from a tree in northern California. The company I purchased it from specializes in this species. This was the largest tree they had harvested in 40 years. The color and figure are amazing. I tried to create a set that would celebrate this incredible tree for many years to come.
The bookmatched slabs the top is made from were cut from one of three giant slabs I purchased. They represent about a third of the material in that one slab. Important parts such as chair seats and backs were all cut from the most dramatic sections of the slabs I could find. A tree this old contains a lot of "defects". I tried to celebrate a number of these features. Thus you see the bow tie keys stitching together cracks in the top, open knot holes, natural edge presentations and even an old bullet lodged in one of the seats (I've found a number of these over the years).
The original slabs were 3 ½" thick. I used this thickness to create flowing curved shapes – especially in the chairs seats and backs. I did a lot of sculpting – largely with hand tools. My goal was to create chairs with a lot of shape – but just enough material to provide structural integrity. In the seats alone I removed 65% of the original material in the sculpting process.
The chair backs required a similar effort. I wanted the back side of the backs to be particularly special. After all, when you are not using a chair – which side do you see when you walk by? The backs are only one of many areas in which I got a little carried away with the detail work. Each chair consists of 72 individual parts. The entire set represents an investment of about 6,000 hours.