Wooden intarsia seahorse artwork, built from lacewood, cherry, mahogany, maple, walnut, mulberry, bloodwood, purpleheart, and ebony. The frame was made from reclaimed furniture: either black stinkwood or muninga (unclear which). The mulberry and cherry were milled myself from downed neighborhood trees. The frame wood came from a couple antique chairs purchased by my mother-in-law in Cape Town, S. Africa in the 1970s.
My final project of 2018 is now complete!

Posts during the making of…

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The purpose of this post is to talk for a minute about this super cool wood I’m using to make this frame. This is supposedly antique South African “black stinkwood” (Ocotea bullata), also called “cape walnut”. My mother-in-law @avrashorkend, a South African herself, bought a couple antique chairs made from this wood in the 1970s. She and my step-dad-in-law no longer wanted them, so we cut them up with a sawzall over thanksgiving and I brought the pieces home. Stinkwood used to be prevalent on Table Mountain in Cape Town, which @tam_a_ryn and I visited when we got married (she spent her childhood there). But the black stinkwood was massively overexploited by the timber/furniture industries in the ‘70s and was eradicated from most of its previous habitat. It’s now a protected species and no longer commercially available. It’s name apparently comes from the smell when it’s freshly felled. But I can tell you, this who-knows-how-old wood smelled *really* good in my shop. It actually smelled very similar to that characteristic sweet smell of African padauk. Thus, with the smell and comparing the grain to the limited images I could find online, I think there’s a decent chance this wood is actually Pterocarpus angiolensis (Muninga or African teak), which is closely related to padauk (Pterocarpus soyauxii). This species is not CITES-listed and often used in furniture. It’s also known for being a pretty hardcore nasal irritant; and this wood made me sneeze and my nose run within a minute of taking off my mask with a little dust still in the air – more so than any other wood I’ve worked. Either way, it’s pretty cool to use these pieces in my artwork. If you or anyone you know is an expert in exotic African woods, feel free to add your 2 rand. #stinkwood #muninga #africanwood #padauk

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Just a random little intarsia begin this evening.

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