Better than seeing The Lord in a grilled-cheese sandwich

comments (11) June 12th, 2010 in blogs

AsaC Asa Christiana, Special Projects Editor, Fine Woodworking magazine
thumbs up 37 users recommend

As Joseph Bush sliced through a miraculous piece of walnut, he saw the picture in the grain change from a man to a woman. They face each other in his Orchard Lovers Cabinet, with a book-matched heart between them.
I gave Fine Woodworkings special award for furniture design to Reuben Foats Not a Hack Table. Every detail is considered in this delicate piece. Id love to have it in my own home.
The yearly show at the Del Mar fairgrounds always showcases dozens of tasteful turnings.
But my favorite turning was Gollypod Family by Jason Lane. Im not sure what world he is living in, but I like it.
This rich show also draws some of the best carvers in the country.
I was charmed when I found out that a father and son made this scale car and trailer, named, inevitably, Life is a Beach. Ive heard that Gary and Kelsey Clark are already hard at work on their next replica.
With a working electric motor and an excellent steering mechanism, the car is ready for a small child to climb in and take off.
Under the barbecue lid, I found this grill, spatula, hamburger, and black briquets, like everything else, made from wood.
As Joseph Bush sliced through a miraculous piece of walnut, he saw the picture in the grain change from a man to a woman. They face each other in his Orchard Lovers Cabinet, with a book-matched heart between them. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

As Joseph Bush sliced through a miraculous piece of walnut, he saw the picture in the grain change from a man to a woman. They face each other in his "Orchard Lover's Cabinet," with a book-matched heart between them.

Photo: Asa Christiana

Every year or so someone sees Jesus in their tea leaves or window fog, but a Northern California woodworker unveiled a miracle of his own at the 29th annual Design in Wood Exhibition, sponsored by the San Diego Fine Woodworkers Association.
At first I thought the walnut panels featured in the Joseph Bush’s “Orchard Lover’s Cabinet” were a masterwork of faux graining, but when I opened the doors and saw the same grain on the back side of the panels, I knew this was no paint job. According to show coordinator Bob Stevenson, Bush had held onto the amazing his-hers flitch for 10 years before building the cabinet. The miraculous figure came from the graft between the English walnut and American walnut parts of the tree. I was also happy to see that the claro walnut cabinet’s overall design and craftsmanship lives up to the miraculous panels, with a tasteful base and impeccably fitted drawers and doors. By the way, take a closer look and you’ll see a book-matched heart in the center panel, joining the two lovers.
I’ve probably seen a hundred thousand pieces of furniture in my decade at Fine Woodworking, but I’ve never seen anything quite like these two sequential slices, unmistakeably a man and a woman, as beautifully rendered as any painter could do. It’s enough to start making me look for The Good Lord in my French toast.

There were plenty of other wonders at this year’s Design in Wood show, put on each year by the country’s largest woodworking guild, and housed at the mammoth, month-long San Diego County Fair. In fact there were over 400 entries, beating last year’s total by 100. Seems the bad economy has been good for woodworking, or maybe the pros just have more pieces that haven’t sold yet. Either way, the show was the best I’ve seen in my five years of attending.
Fine Woodworking gave out a special award for furniture design to Reuben Foat for his homage (I think) to one of FWW’s contributing editors, Garrett Hack. Foat’s “Not a Hack Table” is more angular than Hack’s work, but just as elegant, with playful inlay to match its tongue-in-cheek name.

 



posted in: blogs, table, cabinet, modern, wood turning, carving


Comments (11)

MartSoCal MartSoCal writes: Yep, saw this at the SD Fair last weekend and it was a show stopper --- Amazing.
Posted: 1:22 pm on June 22nd

adsdad adsdad writes: Anybody notice the praying hands in the center panel?
or is that another face?
Fine work!

Posted: 11:01 am on June 22nd

cLs cLs writes: The man reminds me of a self portrait of Van Gogh.
Posted: 9:49 am on June 22nd

Dekester Dekester writes: Are they sure the tree didn't grow over the grave of lovers who met a tragic end...
Posted: 7:25 am on June 22nd

coonsy coonsy writes: I just want to say that I am so lucky, being frozen to the East Coast, to be able to view the gorgeous work being done in the West. Thanks to Fine Woodworking and this website you bring to all of us who are passionate about wood this pleasure. Long may you wave.
Posted: 6:07 am on June 22nd

bobmaus bobmaus writes: After more than 50 years of working with wood,I thought I had seen just about everything, to me, this proves what craftsmen have always said - "Let the wood reveal what wonders it contains for you". This beautiful piece of wood and furniture are a worthy marriage. A real pleasure to behold.
Bob Maus
Pattern Maker Ret'd
Posted: 1:54 pm on June 21st

keving18 keving18 writes: Those wood faces are so varied, it almost looks like marquetry was performed to acheieve the images.

Extraordinary.
Posted: 1:36 pm on June 21st

Ruffnek Ruffnek writes: I once saw (I think on TV) a person grinding off stones a bit at a time to reveal a "picture" inside, not unlike those lovers in the veneer panels.

It's amazing what amazing treasures nature provide to those who seek them.
Posted: 1:22 pm on June 20th

RalphBarker RalphBarker writes: The Gollypod reminds me of the fanciful creatures shown a while back on one of the science channels about what life might look like on an alien planet. Lane simply stopped short of adding eyes and a single clawed foot.

Might be an interesting design for a house, though, complete with wind- or solar-powered elevator.
Posted: 11:35 am on June 17th

AsaC AsaC writes: I hear you, Tom. But the wood is pretty miraculous, no? I've never seen a flitch like this one.
Posted: 2:50 pm on June 15th

Tom_SoCal Tom_SoCal writes: I enjoy looking at fine furniture. However, I don't think I'd like something that looks back at me.
Posted: 1:15 pm on June 13th

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