Figured Makore, Holly

96"L 23"D 37"H

This piece was commissioned as a sideboard. A dining room piece to store dishes, silverware, and linens. I have to admit - it doesn't look much like a traditional sideboard...

The design evolved from a number of criteria I hoped to incorporate - asymmetrical presentation, lots of curved, shaped surfaces, an external skeleton, and lots of fine detailing. As I sketched, I found I was being drawn towards shapes that seemed to be resisting a force - like a tree on a ridge, resisting the wind. I found many images of such trees on the internet. I also looked at a lot of images of flags blowing in the wind.

The main wood is makore, from Africa. This is very dramatically "quilt" figured stock. A small percentage of trees form like this. The white wood is holly from the northeastern US. What you can't see in these shots is all the holly used in the interior. The drawer parts other than the fronts are all holly. The sides are dovetailed into the fronts and the contrast is very pretty. The large cabinet has a row of holly interior drawers just under the top, inside the doors. There are also two levels of adjustable holly shelves and the backs of both cabinets are holly. Nice and bright inside when you open it up.

This was easily the most technically challenging piece I have done so far. All the curved parts were shaped with hand tools from thick stock. Parts you hardly notice - like the curved cabinet sides and bottoms were quite challenging to create. The curved drawer fronts and doors were another challenge - but at least you can see them...

The final step of inlaying the holly pattern across the front was 6 weeks of the most intense, exacting, high disaster potential work I have ever done. Very satisfying at this point, but I was completely fried at the end of every one of those days.

All told this was an 18 month effort. I feel very lucky to have clients who are willing to trust me with a piece like this - and quite privileged to have taken the journey.