Creating tables that use stumps for pedestals or slabs for tops has been around for a while now. These pieces usually go in the category of rustic furniture but they have an attraction for some because they put on display a chunk of raw nature. Polish up a redwood slab, pour a thick acrylic finish on it, stick it on a stump, and that’s the cat’s meow. Admirers can always be found, although I can’t say I am one of them.
The famous maker, George Nakashima, showed a more sensitive approach. He carefully chose highly figured natural edge timbers that he incorporated into thoughtfully designed, skillfully crafted pieces of furniture that are now highly sought after by collectors. His reverence for the material reached an almost spiritual level, and his influence can be seen in the work of contemporary makers who continue to incorporate natural, “live edge” boards and slabs into their own work.
In fact, natural edge furniture seems to be all the rage these days. I asked my wife if she understood the why behind this popularity, but those wiggly, organic edges don’t really resonate with her. I think it is a way for city dwellers to connect with a bit of the natural world and bring it into the urban environment. I like a touch of that naturalism myself, but since I live and work in the country, surrounded by nature, and work primarily in solid wood, I already get my fill of the raw, debarked edge. As I write this post I think there is a little armadillo on my porch drinking water out of the cat’s bowl and a wren hatching her eggs in one of our hanging baskets.
(View from my back porch)
However, with this mesquite and cherry gun cabinet I, too, am jumping on the natural edge bandwagon. This piece was commissioned as a gift for a young man who would eagerly become a paleolithic hunter gatherer if such a major was offered at his university. His tastes are probably not very well developed yet, but he loved the idea of incorporating some natural edge boards into his cabinet. “Very, very cool!”
Along with beautiful figure and color the natural edge mesquite also offers knots, checks, and insect holes.
The slanting vertical board below the interior shelf has holes drilled in it to accept metal pins that will support hand guns for display.
Drawer and door pulls were sculpted from cocobolo.
The upper section of this cabinet is put together with unglued interlocking joints so that the top can be lifted off, and the side sections can then be separated from the back. In other words the entire cabinet can be broken down into smaller sections that make it easier to move this piece. It can be assembled or disassembled by two people in about five minutes time.
The couple who commissioned me to build this cabinet liked it so much that they have asked me to make a new one just like it for another family member. To see more of my furniture, please visit my gallery page.
Oh, here is that armadillo I mentioned.