lets-join-it-together-with-some-lovely-little-butterfly-joints-like-Andrew-from-Wabi-Sabi-does and it will be all right….
OK, that was a dreadful wasn’t it??? I know (huge groan) look at me singing about wood joints like a fool!
Whenever I see these Wabi Sabi tables with that delicate little butterfly bridging the gap I wonder why I don’t see that clever joint more often… I have always thought it was beautiful and skillful way to address this natural tendency for centre boards to split…
I love that they’re not about decoration… they’re not frivolous, they do a job. They neatly tie the two sides of a board (or even two separate pieces of wood) and lock the two joined parts together.
Very clever, very neat and very pretty.
You could (as I do) take the view that instead of detracting from a board, the split or heartcrack, which might otherwise be seen as a defect or something that reduces the yield of the board, actually creates an opportunity and naturally enhances the board (and that’s not just me putting a positive slant on something as I am want to do from time to time) maintains uniqueness… keeps it’s wild, natural, living tree-ness… you know?
So are you a sympathetic, skilled and creative woodworker… are you tempted to have a go?
If you saw some of the boards out in the yard you might be tempted… it’s not just the size that’s so attractive it’s the wild grain patterns and figuring you get to keep if you could use a whole, intact board.
If you do do butterfly joints I really want to see them… please send me some pictures. I’d like to have a whole library of butterfly joints! It’s one of my favourite things ever in furniture making… and in floormaking… I’ve seen incredible floors with huge boards stabilised with buttlerfly joints… all sizes too.. of butterflies I mean.
Here’s another Wab Sabi pic that shows exactly that kind of knots, grain swirls, brown streak, flecking and figuring that might have to be excluded (polite timber-speak for chuck it in the firewood) in a typical project, but with the butterfly it gets to stay. Wood like this has unique features built in!
It must be the best joint every surely?
None of that hiding round corners like a dovetail.. the butterfly is brazen! it’s a proper ‘in your face, not pretending to be anything but, look at me I’m a joint… kind of a joint. My old tutors would probably start waxing lyrical about honesty and truth in design etc… but that’s architects for you.
I love ‘brazen’…
I know other woodworkers must utilise these joints but it is definitely not commonplace… I wish it were.
American architect turned furniture maker/teacher George Nakashima used to incorporate just this kind of joint into his work. He developed a working philosophy that integrated traditional methods of woodworking from Europe, Japan, India and America.
Nakashima is a woodworking folk hero and his sensibilities and devotion to craft have influenced and opened doors for lots of creative designer/makers to view the use of wood differently. Always nice to have a bit of philospohy to work to innit?
I mean look.. this is what I’m talking about! Humongous wide boards in long lengths but with heartcrack… somebody butterfly joint it for goodness sake..!
Otherwise those tantalisingly wide boards will get ripped down (I know that is woodwork language for cutting something through the width but… so harsh) into ‘use-able’ dimensions like 27 x 100mm (1″ x 4″) or something… we don’t want that do we??
So next time you meet over a table… or sit at a table… or make a table… or choose a table for your living room… or dance on a table in a bar… consider the butterfly effect… we love those butterflies.
Get in touch with bespoke designer/makers Andrew & Kumiko Juniper to see their diverse and extraordinary range of solid wood furniture http://www.wabisabidesign.co.uk/index.html
George Nakashima, folk hero and furniture maker http://www.nakashimawoodworker.com/
Thinking of Google Image Searching butterlfy joints? Already done it… http://bit.ly/Je1CgO OMG!!! After this an intact and clear piece of wood is just so passe darling…
Repair a split using ‘Dutchman’ butterfly joints – it makes me want to go home and split my dining table in two just to have someone mend it! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMcXwmoOExI&feature=related Andrew.. are you free???
Cool video of someone fitting what I call a butterfly joint in a round http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWrkqj_lyuo
More AMAZING japanese joinery work and what a piece of wood! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THbyIHsCVEs&feature=related
Nice article about George Nakashima http://www.woodworkersinstitute.com/page.asp?p=624
If a butterfly joint flapped it’s wings in the amazon… the theory of chaos via our friends at wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterfly_effect
You don’t really read all the way down here to the bottom do you? Aren’t you lovely!
I was going to just leave a little note about heartcrack but now I think I’ll put in a picture of a fluffy bunny just for you!
This fluffy bunny was brought to you by http://bunny-love-girl.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/very-fluffy-bunny.html !!
The reason for the cracking in those centre boards? which pretty much always crack up the middle (at least for the lower part of the tree) seems to be linked to the release of tension in the drying out of the butt end.
Common sense points to so many reasons why this would be right… base of the tree is most likely wetter, most likely bears the most load/takes the most strain, dries out faster than than the rest of the log because of the exposed endgrain… I could go on, but I won’t. It’s only a crack afterall… good old mother nature.
Come and hug a log that used to be a tree www.englishwoodlandstimber.co.uk