Nakashima Style End Table

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Project by WoodArtbyJR posted 04-17-2013 03:52 PM 3348 views 8 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is the last of the black walnut that I have. The last one I posted I was CHASTIZED for saying it was a George Nakashima style piece because of the steel legs, the finish and the right angles. Well, on this one I used what the tree and man provided me. When this piece was first harvested it was not cut in straight lines or straight angles so, all I did was clean up the saw tooth marks. As far as what the tree provided, it gave me some rough bark/joint/knot areas that all I did was clean the dirt from it and sealed it. During drying it must have split or when it was cut down it split/tore. I added some yellow heart butterflies (and a little super glue) to strengthen it. This was my first attempt at butterflies and like LJ Texpenn states, they take practice, practice, practice and SHARP chisels. To quote Mr. Nakashima, the tree has started it’s new life.
Thank you for looking

-- Jim Roberts, Port Orchard Washington

13 comments so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30576 posts in 3252 days

#1 posted 04-17-2013 04:22 PM

Many people need to keep in mind that when it say “in the style of” it means the crafts person has used the materials available to create a piece that in their opinion is in the style of a certain style. I have seen Greene and Greene style posted. The only thin that looked right to me was square plugs. We all need to respect others visions as well.

I think this is a great piece. I really need to work on my butterflies.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View david38's profile


3518 posts in 3257 days

#2 posted 04-17-2013 07:23 PM

nice looking

View jap's profile


1251 posts in 2968 days

#3 posted 04-17-2013 08:34 PM

lovely end table

-- Joel

View Randall Sly's profile

Randall Sly

48 posts in 2794 days

#4 posted 04-17-2013 09:12 PM

the butterflies are stealing the black walnut spotlight, and it’s a great detail

-- I could retire nicely if I could sell my experience for what it cost me.

View Mean_Dean's profile


7057 posts in 4061 days

#5 posted 04-17-2013 10:52 PM

Two things:

#1: Monte Pittman is exactly right. If a certain person’s work inspired you to make a piece of furniture, you can certainly say so in the name of your piece.

#2: Great looking Nakashima style end table!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3604 days

#6 posted 04-18-2013 12:51 AM

I love what you did with the walnut slab! And your bowties are very nice. That said, I am just not a fan of those metal ‘hairpin’ legs. But that’s why they make Fords and Chevys, blondes and brunettes…....

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Natalie 's profile


369 posts in 2880 days

#7 posted 04-18-2013 04:35 AM

Great way to honor a piece of wood other’s would have called un-useable. It’s gorgeous.

-- Natalie - My mind is like a bad neighborhood, I don't like to go there alone.

View watermark's profile


484 posts in 2857 days

#8 posted 04-18-2013 08:16 AM

Nice piece. Are the bowties on the end curved or is it just the pic? If they are curved how did you cut the socket for them?

-- "He who has no dog, hunts with a cat" Portuguese proverb

View GerryMurray's profile


22 posts in 3606 days

#9 posted 04-18-2013 11:44 AM

Great job! love the butterflies have always wanted to try them. any tips?

View WoodArtbyJR's profile


428 posts in 3879 days

#10 posted 04-18-2013 01:54 PM

Mean_Dean, I agree with you but when I thought about saying that I was inspired by I didn’t think it carried the same meaning. Someone can look at a pile of saw dust and be inspired to make something out of wood. So, I decided to take on the “in the style” approach. When I look at anything with a natural edge I always think of Mr. Nakashima as I believe he was the artist of our time to really bring this style to the forefront. I also believe his philosophy of honoring the tree was another idea introduced to the western culture.

gfadvm, thank you for the kind comment. Not sure if Mr. Nakashima would have ever used the steel legs but it’s a design/style choice as many would like the raw wood edge look along side the raw steel industrial look. Camaro vs Mustang, Model A vs Porsche, all depends on the look you’re going after in the design of the room you’re decorating. So yep, I agree with you.

watermark, they are curved. They were rough cut so I sanded them on a cylinder sanding disk.

GerryMurray, please look at this link as I found it on YouTube and it is a pretty good starting point for cutting, making and installing butterflies. The point that he does NOT make is that you need SHARP chisels and be patient, take your time. I like to mark the ends (of the butterflies)so I can keep them orientated correctly as each one is different and are not interchangeable in their holes (as he points out). There are several videos and tutorials out there so do a little research and find one that helps you the best. Here is another GREAT video on butterflies/bowties

-- Jim Roberts, Port Orchard Washington

View GlennsGrandson's profile


443 posts in 3223 days

#11 posted 04-18-2013 07:02 PM

Great looking table. I’ve only done three butterflies on one of my coffee tables (in my projects) and they where fun and personally pretty rewarding. Mine where straight though and the drilling/carving for each one took about 45 minutes =/- 15. I cut mine on the BS and sanded them up.

Where did you get your metal legs?

-- Grant - N Dakota

View WoodArtbyJR's profile


428 posts in 3879 days

#12 posted 04-18-2013 10:54 PM

GlennsGrandson, I get my legs from

-- Jim Roberts, Port Orchard Washington

View Dusty Travis's profile

Dusty Travis

14 posts in 2785 days

#13 posted 04-20-2013 04:14 PM

Great table, and excellent job on the butterflies. Its so nice, I would be afraid to put anything on it!

-- Dusty, Phoenix

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