Madrone and Madrone Burl Table

Sometimes it's better to let the wood dictate the design.

SHOP OWNER: HC "Chico" Sakman
LOCATION: Victoria, BC, Canada

    This is a coffee table made out of arbutus (a.k.a. madrone) crotch slabs and the little curved cabinet is wiggle-board plywood, veneered with madrone burl. All the edges are hand shaped with flat, curved, and concave spokeshaves and hand planes. Madrone is such a nice wood to work with hand tools. It cuts like butter, yet it's a little harder than soft maple, although density and color, as you see, dramatically changes even within the same board.
Madrone and Madrone Burl Table

    Coincidently, a local friend of mine salvaged the slab. It was on its way to the chainsaw and then fire. Noticing it was madrone, stopped by, and convinced the homeowner to give it to him. That's the short story behind this wood. All the darker wood accents are Honduran Rosewood, which is a real nice wood.
    The cabinet door is hinged with 1/4" dowels. I trimmed the base of the cabinet with solid spalted maple burl to prevent any veneer chipping in case the table is dragged across carpet.
Madrone and Madrone Burl Table

    I really didn't design this table, the wood did. The "leg" on the other side is from the same flitch, so I had three consecutive crotch slabs, two of them showing one branch, and one with two branches, which is the leg.
Madrone and Madrone Burl Table

    The finish on it, at the time of these shots, is just a single generous coat of linseed oil. I sanded the entire piece to 320 before that coat of oil. I will soon apply a varnish and oil mix for better protection.
    This is as "organic" as I get, I guess. Perhaps semi-organic would be better. Personally, "organic" and "rustic" pieces are not my cup a tea. If I had the habit of naming my pieces, I'd have named this one "Woman". I just did it to practice the curved elements and this wood told me what it wanted to be!

. . . H. C. Sakman, a.k.a. "Chico"



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