Designed primarily to be situated in the dining room for use at meal times, the bark textures poised across the work to delight and fascinate. The sideboard strives to make centre stage of this beautiful but overlooked material found in our native woodlands. The bark is hardy with disguised characteristics, whilst wild cherry is commonly left on the woodland floor, this outer bark can survive holding it’s frame even when all that was held within it has decomposed.
L 910. H. 900. W (depth). 525
Finished with Padded Melamine Lacquer and then waxed.
Carcass having been glued together
Sneak Preview with mock-up handles
Below: Actual bark handles. These make me want to wear a pair as cufflinks, to see a set soon...
Leg Frame being glued together. The two smaller side frames have been glued and assembled and now the longer rails bring the two frames together.
Frame and panel shelve being scraped beautifully clean.
ABOVE STRIPPED TREE.
It is the case with some pieces of branch, that the whole decomposed timber can be poured or prodded out from its bark casing to be left with a hollow form. The forms can be physically and viscerally light.
The bark can is mostly of three types.
. Open 'Cracked' bark can be commonly found in age old trunk parts of the tree and sometimes on one side of the tree trunk perhaps suggestive of stresses that where subjected more to one side of the tree than the other side.
. Straight striation bark with frequent linear patterns and separations in the bark surface. This type holds whilst being scraped (although all bark can be brittle) and can be found mostly high up the tree trunk or from limbs of the tree. I have experimented with finding the best approach to scrape the reverse side for acceptance of the adhesive. The result of my experimenting led toward preparing the bark using a heavily convex hand scraper with a strong burr, this burr was pushed along the gripped bark (kneeling on one end) whilst upon a cork mat. The cork mat is supple enough to respond against the scraper responsively, making it easier to scrape pieces that are irregular in their flatness.
. Fine dimple holes in the bark in linear and random patterns.
After the tree has been on the woodland floor for around two years the softer inner bark has partly decomposed and is like a nutrient rich compost (or as above photograph suspended from the floor). This leaves a shell of fabulous outer cherry bark!
The bark being used has been sourced with Kind permission and help from Steve Kirkpatrick of the National Trust, Estate Ranger of Hughenden Manor in High Wycombe.
After the bark panels have been veneered and their surfaces scraped, a few where planed to size with a hand plane and many more where then machined to size using a jig set-up on the spindle molder running from two hand planned surfaces. Taking back the corners with fine abrasive paper to achieve a clean result. The edges adjacent with the bark veneer where also knocked back. Sandpaper leave strongly visible marks on bark surfaces and clogs, so the resulting slight round-over is friction abraded on foam backed paper board. I will be experimenting with other materials for this job in the future. Once the squares have been sealed the resulting faces are cleaned back with wire wool.
'De-nibbing' the sides of the squares after they have been sealed with Cellulose Sanding Sealer.
After the time consuming process of cleaning and scraping the back of the bark from all that comes in from the woodland, it is ready to be cut oversize ready to veneer onto small panels. The use of small panels is sympathetic to the characteristics of European Cherry as this minimizes the effects that seasonal changes in humidity has upon the wood's cross-grain dimension.
Bark Squares being glued, I have been producing four in a batch and 140 double sided squares +spares to be used in the finished cabinet. Another post coming!
Top scrape of bark squares - Leaving a feel like leather whilst producing very fine soft shavings!
My name is Alex Burgess, I have been a self-employed Carpenter and Cabinetmaker for four years, and run a small team. We cover first and second fix carpentry, cabinetmaking and flooring.