Feast your eyes

California Curly Redwood
On Sale! Only $1800.00

 

I came across this slab at my local Woodcraft and it reminded me of these words:

“The lumber is taken off the truck by hand, each board quickly studied for its ultimate use. Sometimes an immediate role is assigned; a coffee table, a dining table, an end table. Other planks are separated into general categories according to probable future use and stored. Size, shape, thickness, figuring and unusual graining, even defects, all contribute to the decision as to what the future life of each board will be.”                                                                                                         George Nakashima, The Soul of a Tree, p. 112

 

I stood looking at this slab for several minutes trying to imagine what I would do with it (just in case I was able to offload a kidney). I couldn’t think of a single thing to make that seemed to honor the material. I posted the same picture on Instagram and a friend suggested slapping some hairpin legs on it and calling it done. My initial reaction was, really? That’s what everyone is doing. But then it occurred to me that perhaps the reason everyone is doing it is because hairpin legs are the least intrusive thing you can do to a slab like this. They allow the wood to be the feature.

This is upside down thinking from the way I normally approach a project. I don’t start with the material and let it “tell me” what it wants to become. I start with the design and then go find material that will work. But this was the first time I had stopped to take a deep look at a slab. I’ve always considered large pieces of wood, like this one, to be forbidden fruit; too far out of financial reach to consider and I didn’t want it to fuel my discontent. And, perhaps, I’ve always thought of “listening” to the wood to be a lot of baloney. Until now.

Where do you start? Design or material?

What would you do with a slab like this?

Advertisements

15 Comments Add yours

  1. Paul Bouchard says:

    I think the nice thing is that in another 5 to 10 years, as I’m (hopefully) getting ready to retire, all this wood will be available again for nothing; when the “live edge” fad has died and people start pitching it into dumpsters.

    Like

    1. Paul Bouchard says:

      ..and I don’t mean that as a criticism of the style, just that when tastes change, it’ll be easy to take the legs off and stack these nice dry slabs on shelves.

      Like

      1. Eric Key says:

        That’s funny! I totally agree with you. It might even be the only way I will get to lay hands on one of these giants.

        Like

  2. Rusty Matheny says:

    Every 3 or 4 months I’ll find a Redwood decking board with this kind of curl for a good portion of it’s 12 foot length at my local Home Depot. Granted, it is only 5/8 by 5 and 1/2 decking, but it makes nice boxes and can be had for about $25.

    Like

    1. Eric Key says:

      Sounds like i’m going to have to go check out the stash at my Home Depot. Thanks for the heads up!

      Like

  3. Mike Hamilton says:

    Or at the other extreme, you can go to Rockler and get “faux barnwood” made from molds cast from “real, vintage artifacts”. Both extremes are expensive.

    Like

    1. Eric Key says:

      Very true. I just finished an estimate for a couple who want to use the faux barnwood on an accent wall. It will look cool but I think it will be a lot like paneling; it will date their house pretty quick.

      Like

  4. hiscarpentry says:

    I had the opportunity to work with a slab like that a few years back. The client wanted to turn it into a bathroom vanity, so I did. It was my first commissioned piece. Turned out beautifully.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Eric Key says:

        That slab is amazing! And the finished vanity is spectacular. That, my friend, is a great way to utilize a slab like this. It’s unique, functional, and I can see wanting to keep it forever. Everyone else needs to click on the link and check this out.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Steve D says:

    How many do they have? I am looking to do some wide board flooring.

    Like

    1. Eric Key says:

      I do believe they had three of them at this store. Of course if you wanted to take a road trip I bet the other stores have a few as well.

      Like

      1. Steve D says:

        Shucks, my room is bigger than that.

        Pergo it is!

        Like

      2. Steve D says:

        That is insanely gorgeous wood. Could make a lovely bar or countertop with or without the live edges.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s