Most of the pieces that our students make are constructed from the more common timber species such as oak, olive ash or sycamore.
So it’s always fascinating when a student uses an unusual species, trusting in their ability and imagination to fashion something both unique and very beautiful.
That’s what John Grillo, a former business intelligence analyst from Denver, Colorado, has done, constructing a round table from walnut and American pepperwood.
John has already proved himself to be a highly creative designer whose furniture is characterised by clean, simple lines, but also incorporating rarely-used veneers.
That was true of one of his previous pieces of furniture – a bird’s eye maple and fumed oak console table, whose top seems to float from its legs.
John has taken his creativity one step further, using another rarely-used timber species to create a complex, organic pattern that is utterly original.
The apron of his table is made from some 40 pieces of intricately-cut walnut, with a dozen pieces of pepperwood veneer to form a simple, flowing yet geometrically-complex design.
Pepperwood, or zanthoxylum clava-herculis to give it its proper name, is sometimes known as southern prickly ash and is native to the south-eastern USA.
It’s also sometimes called the toothache tree because chewing its leaves or bark causes a tingling numbness in the mouth. For that reason, it was used by Native Americans and early settlers to treat toothache.[
After graduation, John will be returning to Denver to set up Rocky Mountain Fine Woodworking.