This is an occasional table, with a maple-burl veneer surface.
A burl is actually an outgrowth on a tree, caused by some form of stress (an injury, a virus, a fungus, or insect infestation, for example). The grain inside the burl develops unusual, idiosyncratic patterns that don’t occur in unaffected wood. Woodcrafters and turners like me love them!
For this table, I used veneer—thin slices shaved from wood or a burl in a way that make the most of the grain. These slices can then be glued onto the surface of a foundation, as I did with this table surface. The four quarters take advantage of the gorgeous pattern in the larger pieces of the veneer. The inlaid bands and edging provide an exciting contrast.
I carved the table legs from curly maple—a feature that occurs when the wood fibers develop an undulating pattern. The result is a wave-like, silky sheen. This puts it in the category of “figured hardwood.” Curly maple is also often used as tops for guitars.
The challenge here involved carving clear grooves in the table legs, while preserving the curled effect itself. I had to keep changing the direction from which I made the cuts for the grooves, in order not to tear out pieces of wood from the grain as I cut through the curls.
36 inch diameter. 22 inches tall.
Top: MDF core, ash and maple burl veneered. Legs: hand-carved curly maple.