I’m building a tool cabinet right now for the final semester project at my Hand Tool School. I was going through a stack of rough sawn Cherry, matching color and grain and assigning each piece to a part of my build. I came across a 10″ by 50″ board that had a small knot right in the middle about 2/3 of the way down the length. Not really a big deal. It would make hand planing the board a little more difficult but I figured I was up to the challenge.
I flipped the board over and that little knot had bloomed into a canyon on the opposite face. Probably a branch formed at this point on the tree and then had broken off leaving this chasm. What to do here? The grain around the knot of course begins to swirl like water down a drain and in order to cut out the knot and leave straight grain that would match with the rest of my piece, I would need to sacrifice quite a bit of material leaving me with two much shorter pieces around 26 and 12″ long. These two pieces would fit within the dimension I need for parts in my build and I could move on happily without the defect.
Maybe this “defect” is really just an opportunity. I think that there is a way to embrace this knot hole and make it a feature in a table top. Imagine creating a spot for a built in Ikebana style flower arrangement growing right out of the top. Or fill the hole with clear resin and encase something within it. The swirling grain around the knot makes me think of a Zen rock garden so I have visions of turning the knot into a tiny Koi pond and highlighting the grain around it. Even just leaving the knot open and planing the board until you get a through hole would make for a real point of interest in a top while making it clear to the casual observer that this piece came from a tree. You could use this as a door panel that provides a sneak peek of what is inside the cabinet. Maybe I have been reading Nakashima too much lately, but I’m really excited by the opportunity presented by this “defect”.Google+ Profile