Silver and Goldilocks (side tables)

When wood dries, it cracks. That’s just the way of things. It’s caused by shrinkage when it dries out, and it’s as predictable as the rising sun. That is, unless someone interferes, cuts the logs, treats them, and stores them in a particular way. This is known as “proper” drying practice, and generally I insist on it. But every rule has a time for breaking, and this rule was due. I found these ash logs very freshly cut. They were literally wet to the touch and had not yet begun to crack. I mounted each one on my lathe and turned it into a cylinder. Water was flying everywhere. I was getting tree juice in my mouth. Shavings were coming off the tool like long noodles of linguini in the air. But eventually, I got each one round and smooth. After sanding, I sealed the ends and silver leafed them. The were perfect and pristine and gorgeous, but not finished. Finish inhibits moisture from getting out of wood, and I didn’t use any (yet). I put them out in the sun every day for a couple of weeks, and then stuck them in a closet. Essentially I did the opposite of proper drying practice, and they cracked all to hell. The escaping moisture even pushed off the thin silver skin in some small areas. After a year, when they were pretty dry, I gave them a fine sanding and three coats of clear finish.

This trio of end tables is an embrace of the forces in wood. It demonstrates the slow violence of the pristine forms ripping themselves open. They are available as a group for $725.