Mulberry & Walnut Heiko Coffee Table
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49w x 23d x 17t
Mulberry live edge top and inlaid dutchman joints.
Unsteamed walnut: through tenon base, wedges.
Designed, built, finished, and photographed by Robert Morrissey.
Copyright Philomath Woodworks 2023.
About this table:
Solid live edge mulberry top featuring inlaid mulberry dovetail Dutchman joints and wedged through tenon joinery locking the top to the solid walnut reverse tapered base (original and unique to Philomath Woodworks).
Proprietary Philomath LinBee Finish - a natural blend of linseed oil and Montana beeswax (for more details please see LinBee product page).
Inlaid double dovetailed (Dutchman) joints are used to stabilize inherent cracks found in the live edge top. These joints are not only beautiful, they are extremely strong and useful to prevent further cracking or warping.
This table is in my Heiko series, Heiko meaning equilibrium or even scale. In this series, the top is intentionally placed at the point at which it naturally balances on the base or Chushin (meaning center, heart, core, focus). Because live edge tops vary in width and density, it's always interesting to discover where that balancing point actually is. The balancing point is never exactly in the middle, therefore creating a delicate tension between the Chushin and the inherent energy of the live edge top. Gravity determines the point of balance as well as the overall design and energy of the table.
Mulberry wood is prized by furniture makers and revered in Japanese culture. Often used to make wooden objects for the traditional tea ceremony, Mulberry leaves are used to feed silkworms, as well as the pulp base for making traditional handmade Japanese paper (Kozo) used in shoji, andons, scrolls, and printmaking. Mulberry from the Japanese Izu islands is one of the worlds most expensive woods
Original and unique to Philomath Woodworks is the use of wedged mortise and tenon joinery. This joint marries the tapered base to the live edge top. Woodworkers around the world have used the mortise and tenon joint for thousands of years to join pieces of wood, mainly when the adjoining pieces connect at right angles, which also gives an attractive look. The mortise and tenon joint is considered to be one of the strongest joints next to the common dovetail joint, and is difficult to make due to the precise and tight cutting required. In its most basic form, a mortise and tenon joint is both simple and strong. I then go one step further by chiseling a second mortise into the through tenon that then accepts a wedge. The wedge locks the top to the base in a beautiful display of simplicity and craftsmanship.