TOMMY KIRK: PARQUETRY WIZARD!
Patience, skill and thousands of pieces of wood add up to outrageous visual displays.
BY: Basil Bailey
LOCATION: Lancaster, SC
I'm sending you these pictures for my good friend and distant relative, Tommy Kirk. The first photo is of his kitchen table and china cabinet. The blocks are all about 3/8-in. thick.
The round table at right is Tommy's first adventure into veneer, after many projects using thicker blocks. In the background, you see a chair that goes with a bedroom suite he built several years ago. I think you would call this a valet or a gentleman's dressing chair.
The chair has the Kirk family coat-of-arms inlaid in the back. It also has a drawer in the bottom with a secret wooden latch.
This is the bed for the bedroom suite Tommy made. It is made of walnut with raised panels. Note the inlay on the octagonal bed post. I ran out of film or I would have taken pictures of all the pieces.
The bedroom suite has over 800,000 pieces of wood in it, including raised-panel doors and drawers, octagonal bed posts, on and on... It is hard to believe Tommy made it all with a 35-year-old, 12-in. Sears direct-drive tablesaw with a Sears fence and a cheap blade.
This is Tommy working on his second little veneer table. It is very similar to the first, except this time he let me influence him a little. He usually lays blocks in a random way, but I encouraged him to put a little more order into this one. The table will have over 3,000 pieces when complete. He took the first table to an "Antique Road Show," and they appraised it at $8,000.
Tommy doesn't have a computer, but he's asked me to post a couple of questions on WoodCentral for him in the past. When I see him over coffee in the morning, he's always asking, "Well, what are they talking about now?"...Basil Bailey
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