The "Bright Blue" that I'm referring to is from my post about the limited palette that I used to paint with. After a year or so of using muted colors, bright blue came along and changed the way that I looked at painting. The walnut of my latest chair has brought along a similar awakening.
I've worked with "pretty" wood, such as cherry, but the lush surface of the walnut and the ease of working it is a whole new game.
Perhaps it's because it is so dark and fine grained that every little detail seems to glow. It creates countless opportunities to play with light and shadow, but it comes with an obligation as well. Any ill considered or muddy area will shine just as brightly as the best made shapes and marks. Luckily, this stuff is not interested in fighting.
As I was monkeying around with the crest bending, and ending up with some castaways, I took it as an opportunity to readdress the crest shape. I settled on the shape below.
I really like the look of it in the chair. The motion of the cut away sides helps move the eye back to the spindles and the center of the chair, plus it was plain old fun to make. Below is the entire chair, all in all, I'm pleased with the results.
One of the unexpected results of working with the walnut was the pace with which I made the piece. Something about it slowed me down, not by much and perhaps it was just a perception, but I felt more conscious of what I was doing. Knowing that any small mistake would be glaring might have something to do with it, but it wasn't all nerves, I enjoyed it.
Below is the seat, which I glued up from three pieces. I used the glue up technique to align the growth rings that I covered in a previous post and it worked out great. While under close inspection, the joints reveal themselves, at first it looks like a one piece seat. I really don't mind if folks play "where's the joint", but I take some joy in them having to really focus to find it!
Now I'm sitting down to write an article about building this chair which will hopefully come out this year.