The design of this shelving unit was inspired by the geometric paintings of Piet Mondrian, a Dutch artist known for his abstract color-block paintings. Using Mondrian as a guide I designed a piece that would have various sized cubbies (real and implied) that would hold a diverse range of glassware. This is one of two projects requested by a client who had a walnut tree taken down off of her property.
I knew that the shelves were going to have a live edge so I worked with my sawyer to mill the log in a way that would give an interesting shape. As he milled the gorgeous figure of the wood started to reveal itself and I knew that this figure would look spectacular once the wood was sanded and finished.
The unit is held together by cross lap joints. I used 1/2″ stainless steel rod to pin the shelves to the vertical elements. I drilled the holes in the vertical elements at a 1o slope so that the shelves tip ever-so-slightly upward to ensure that, even when weighted, they will not sag at the front.
This piece offered some technical challenges during its construction. I knew that I could get a single lap joint to come together but in this piece I had to get seven intersections to mate precisely with each other. The addition of the stainless steel pins at the intersections further complicated the joinery because they would not allow any wiggle room in the fit.
I love using lumber with a live edge. To highlight its wild natural beauty I started by popping off the bark and cleaning the surface with a wire brush. I gently sanded and rounded any sharp edges while maintaining all of the detail that lives just below the surface of the bark. I further burnished the edges with a brass brush. The piece was finished with a blend of boiled linseed oil, turpentine and spar varnish and hand rubbed to a soft luster.
I enjoyed the process of creating this piece as it is quite different from anything else I have done. I hope it is a conversation starter for years to come!