Projects

Turning Japanese

Graeme Winram at Lethenty Cabinetmakers has long been an admirer of the furniture and writings of Japanese American cabinetmaker, George Nakashima. His organic designs combine a deep respect for trees and timber with precise Japanese joinery techniques.


Although Nakashima died in 1990, his daughter Mira, carries on the work and the Nakashima workshop in Pennsylvania continues to influence younger generations of furniture makers.

So we were really pleased to be asked to re-create a classic Nakashima trestle table design from the 1940s. One of our clients in Aberdeen had two wide boards of character Oak and commissioned us to build a Japanese style table using these two boards with a contrasting middle board of dark Walnut.

The design has a simple elegance which is characteristic of Japanese design. We especially like the long sliding dovetail key which reinforces the tenons on the mid rail. As well as being a strong and beautiful joint, it’s a “knockdown” construction which means the table can be easily dismantled for moving.

When we delivered the table, we saw our client had purchased set of four classic Ercol chairs from the 1960s. These looked quite at home with this table but a few weeks later, we were asked to design and build a bench in a similar style.

The table and bench were skillfully made by one of our cabinetmakers. Hand rubbed oil finish by Steve Gordon. Design by George Nakashima.boards of character Oak and commissioned us to build a Japanese style table using these two boards with a contrasting middle board of dark Walnut.