I was perusing the projects over at Lumberjocks today (as I am wont to do) and I came across a guy who had made a small hall table. He had done a good job – the overall form of the piece was good, the finish was great and he was clearly a skillful guy as the construction seemed excellent.
Do you hear the ‘but’ coming?
But… this table was made entirely from very heavily figured curly maple and in my view this was a mistake. Why? Because it’s just too much. It’s almost as though the figured wood conflicts with, rather than compliments the piece.
To me, when you look at a piece of fine furniture, your eye is first drawn to the overall form and proportions, then to the wood it is made from, then into finer detail like the finish, inlays or edge treatments, etc and finally back to the piece as a holistic whole. Like there are layers of visually pleasing detail that take you on a little voyage of discovery.
In this case though, you were immediately side tracked by the figure in the wood, and consequently missed out on the rest of the journey.
I love figured woods and would love to use them more than I do (they’re hard to get here in New Zealand as they have to be imported), but IMHO they are best used as accent pieces rather than the whole hog.