Three Pieces, One Tree- The walnut suite

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Project by JoshOne posted 05-08-2012 04:04 PM 1732 views 4 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

In March of last year I bought pretty much an entire walnut tree here in Bloomington. It was a tree that grew from a seed in Bloomington, fell down in a storm in Bloomington, was milled into lumber in Bloomington, and ultimately was turned into three pieces of furniture in Bloomington. I built Rachael’s coffee table, my bar, and our dining room table from that single walnut tree. Three matching pieces with similar design elements made from a single tree. Thus, when we move away from Bloomington, those pieces will forever link us to the time we spent here, and be intrinsically linked to each other as sibling pieces. To separate them is to separate a family, and they are thus pieces that I hope will stay within my family for many years after I have gone.

I think that there can be such deeper meaning in the things that surround us, if we have the ability to direct what goes into them. It is with that in mind that I’ve developed an interest in working in the idea of ‘place’ in furniture projects.

I think that furniture that is hand-built or custom commissioned can integrate what I refer to as a third function- that of place and memory. When you think about it, most furniture usually has up to two functions: it’s purely utilitarian (think the giant cable spool used as a table in a college apartment) or it is both utilitarian and beautiful. For the vast majority of furniture, it stops there. But if we make our own furniture we can add a third function, and that third function deepens our connection and embeds a degree of meaning within the piece that is otherwise impossible.

-- "The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne"

14 comments so far

View AaronK's profile


1411 posts in 2502 days

#1 posted 05-08-2012 04:09 PM

I agree with you 100%. There’s something very special about using materials from local sources, and it’s special in a way that exotic species could never be. I feel the same about pieces I made using local cherry and maple from when we lived in west virginia.

You’ve done it justice though. I especially love the doors on the sideboard.

View JoshOne's profile


54 posts in 1728 days

#2 posted 05-08-2012 04:11 PM

Thanks, Aaron. I’ve been an admirer of your work since I joined LJs.

-- "The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne"

View BTimmons's profile


2282 posts in 1522 days

#3 posted 05-08-2012 06:25 PM

You’ve really made something special there. I hope that one day I can make something that valuable for my own family to pass down after I’m gone.

-- Brian Timmons -

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4166 posts in 1894 days

#4 posted 05-08-2012 08:24 PM

I love the project

I also like your way of seeing beyond the piece

Where it all fits in.


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Martyroc's profile


2708 posts in 1343 days

#5 posted 05-09-2012 01:38 AM

That’s beautiful, and no truer words have been spoken.

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

View mconolly's profile


10 posts in 1441 days

#6 posted 05-09-2012 01:53 AM

Great projects and wonderful words – I hope your childrens’ children enjoy these as much as you do!

-- - Mike, Warrington, PA

View Millo's profile


543 posts in 2087 days

#7 posted 05-09-2012 03:06 AM

Great stuff. This might sound weird, but sometimes I miss Bloomington. How is it these days?

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 2274 days

#8 posted 05-09-2012 03:22 AM

You’ve made some beautiful treasures from your walnut tree. Here’s a bench project I did to celebrate my Aunt & Uncle’s 55th wedding anniversary. For something special like this, I always put a brass plaque on the piece with the name of the person and the reason for the gift. Somewhere else, I include another brass plaque with my name and the date it was made. After a couple of generations, everyone who owns the piece will know who made it, who they gave it to, and the special occasion of the gift.

Click for details

-- Hal, Tennessee

View JoshOne's profile


54 posts in 1728 days

#9 posted 05-09-2012 03:44 AM

Bloomington is rainy these days! My shop flooded last night! One of the more obvious disadvantages to building a house that is lower than the street…
Other than that b-town is great.

-- "The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne"

View Druk's profile


11 posts in 1246 days

#10 posted 05-09-2012 09:44 AM

Beautiful work and story, thanks for sharing both

-- when I grow up. i want to be just like...

View Cory's profile


750 posts in 2457 days

#11 posted 05-09-2012 01:29 PM

Well executed, Josh. My biggest regret in life is that I got out of Bloomington after only 4 years. Should’ve gotten my masters and a Ph. D.!!!!

-- The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

View mloy365's profile


442 posts in 2167 days

#12 posted 05-09-2012 02:53 PM

That is some great lookin’ work!

-- Mike - Northern Upper Michigan

View superstretch's profile


1521 posts in 1730 days

#13 posted 05-17-2012 06:42 PM

Awesome job!

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

View Gshepherd's profile


1727 posts in 1239 days

#14 posted 05-23-2012 10:43 PM

Excellent work

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

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