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#117 Norfolk Island Pine (FL)
Wood Turning
9 1/4″ tall x 8″ diameter

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Not actually a pine, this species is endemic to Norfolk Island in the Pacific Ocean between New Zealand and New Caledonia some 900 miles east of Sydney, Australia. Due to the climate of that area, the tree has been successfully transplanted into South Florida, Southern California and Hawaii.  The concentric limb pattern is seen clearly in this piece as well as a beautiful spalting pattern seen in the blue-ish coloring throughout the piece.

#149 Chinaberry (GA)
Wood Turning
9″ tall x 5″ diameter

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As its name implies, this species is native to southeast Asia but has been transplanted around the world. It is prized for its lumber which can vary widely in color from light brown to a deep maroon red.  You will rarely see large woodworking projects out of this wood due to the propensity of the heart portion of these trees to rot while the tree is often still living.

#20 Spalted Wormy Maple (GA)
Wood Turning
5″ tall x 10″ diameter

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Trees are a canvas that nature loves to draw on and I am always in awe of it. Spalting is a part of the decay process in which colonies of fungi work to decompose a downed tree back to the earth from whence it came. The black lines, as well as the blue and grey colors you see are mineral deposits left by these fungal colonies as they work through the wood. I have worked to arrest and preserve their work through form and finish.

#84 Spalted Silver Maple (GA)
Wood Turning
5″ tall x 5″ diameter

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Trees are a canvas that nature loves to draw on and I am always in awe of it. Spalting is a part of the decay process in which colonies of fungi work to decompose a downed tree back to the earth from whence it came. The black lines, as well as the blue and grey colors you see are mineral deposits left by these fungal colonies as they work through the wood. I have worked to arrest and preserve their work through form and finish.

#146 Norfolk Island Pine (FL)
Wood Turning
8″ tall x 6″ diameter

Please call for price.

Not actually a pine, this species is endemic to Norfolk Island in the Pacific Ocean between New Zealand and New Caledonia some 900 miles east of Sydney, Australia. Due to the climate of that area, the tree has been successfully transplanted into South Florida, Southern California and Hawaii.  The concentric limb pattern is seen clearly in this piece as well as a beautiful spalting pattern seen in the blue-ish coloring throughout the piece.

Osage Orange (GA)
Wood Turning
5″ tall x 2 1/2″ diameter

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A member of the mulberry family, the Osage Orange tree is also known as the horse apple or hedge apple tree. This tree produces a grapefruit sized fruit that is inedible for humans and rarely eaten by any animals.  Wood from this tree is very hard and resistant to insect activity and the normal decay process.

#145 Black Cherry Burl (GA)
Wood Turning
9″ tall x 7″ diameter

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Usually considered an American “exotic”, cherry is highly prized by furniture and cabinet makers. Black cherry burls, produce stunning and unique grain patterns that make it even more valuable.   This Piece is finished to a wonderful satin sheen, begging to be appreciated with the sense of touch, as well as sight.

#99 Ash Leaf Maple (Box Elder) (GA)
Wood Turning
7″ tall x 9 1/2″ diameter

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These trees, if infested with beetles, will release a chemical as a natural antibody to drive out the infestation and this chemical will turn red inside the wood creating what is also called “flame box elder”.  This wood is highly prized by wood turners, but is rarely used by furniture builders as it is not a very hard wood, and the red flame, unless finished with UV protectant finishes, is also known to fade with time.  We use an epoxy resin finish, inside and out, to lock in the color for many years to come. If kept out of the direct sunlight, box elder pieces can hold their intense red color indefinitely.

#132 Tambuti (West Africa)
Wood Turning
18 1/4″ tall x 5 1/2″ diameter

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An Extremely hard exotic, this wood is prized by furniture makers due to its luxurious, dark grain and extremely stable qualities.  In parts of Africa, it is also used as fence post material due to the extremely dense, anti-rot qualities that it inherently has.  The wood has a toxic quality when milling and can cause temporary blindness if proper precautions are not taken.

#159 Black Walnut (SC)
Wood Turning
8 1/2″ tall x 9″ diameter

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This tree was growing on a South Carolina Farm and had fallen from a fence line during a storm. Great care was taken in the processing of this tree to be used as turning stock due to the many horseshoe nails that were embedded deep within this tree used to hold fencing to the tree over the years.

#101 Spalted Silver Maple (GA)
Wood Turning
4 1/4″ tall x 11″ diameter

Please call for price.

Trees are a canvas that nature loves to draw on and I am always in awe of it. Spalting is a part of the decay process in which colonies of fungi work to decompose a downed tree back to the earth from whence it came. The black lines, as well as the blue and grey colors you see are mineral deposits left by these fungal colonies as they work through the wood. I have worked to arrest and preserve their work through form and finish.

#161 Eastern Red Cedar (GA)
Wood Turning
7″ tall x 6″ diameter

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Actually, a juniper, and not a true cedar, this species is an evergreen and is often used in outdoor applications as it is naturally rot resistant as well as insect resistant.  This piece has a nice contrast between the darker heartwood and lighter colored sapwood. It also has a fissure that formed during the drying process between the first time it was turned on the lathe and the 2nd, finish turning that invited my signature “stitching” method, using holly, red cedar, and black epoxy.

J. Ruel Martin

Jason Ruel Martin is a self-taught woodworker who learned the craft little by little over 25 years.  During that time, Ruel had been influenced by several master turners across North America and Europe most notably, the Moulthrop’s.

 

The Process

 

“My process starts with sourcing the raw wood for my forms, which is truly one of my favorite aspects because its my chance to “hunt” for the prize.  I love riding through the North Georgia Hills anticipating a great “find.”  When I get my hands on something that I believe may hold a rare beauty beneath the bark, I can get downright giddy.  Once I have returned to my shop, I cut the logs into manageable pieces.  These “Manageable pieces” may weight in excess of 200 lbs. when they are first mounted on my lathe so by manageable, I mean that it is within my ability to manipulate it with the help of one or more of my kids.  The pieces I harvest are transported to my back yard where some are “roughed” and hollowed into forms immediately, and others are allowed to be “attacked” by nature’s elements such as types of fungi, beetles, etc. so that the wood may take on interesting characteristics due to the natural process of decay.

Roughing the form is one of my favorite parts.  It’s where the tree gets to “speak”, as it were.  I almost never start turning a piece with a commitment to a shape.  As the bark and then outer layers of wood are removed, the grain of the wood, with its color and character tells me what shape it should be.  From the point that I “rough” out the initial shape, many of my forms will be in the process for over a year before they are finished and ready to sell.

After the rough form is achieved, I force the piece of wood through a series of steps meant to manage how it looses moisture.  Water in a tree is like blood in a human or animal.  As it looses water, the wood is almost tortured as it shrinks unevenly, and begins to split and threatens to undo itself completely.  I work with all the tricks I have learned to make the drying process do as little harm to the form as possible.

Once the form has dried out, it is put back on the lathe again and the shape is “trued up” after the initial shape has changed during the drying process.  At this point, the form is sanded enough to allow the grain to come through with great clarity.

Upon completion of sanding, the inside and outside of the forms are coated with a marine grade, two-part, high build epoxy resin.  Between 6-8 coats of epoxy are applied, sanding in between coats, then allowed to harden over several weeks.  After it has totally cured, the finish is sanded to remove imperfections and then polished to the desired level of sheen.  The finish we have chosen for our pieces is a very labor-intensive finish and extremely few woodturners use it.  We have chosen to go the extra mile, and then some, because we wanted to entomb the wood in the finish ensuring that it will last, in its current state, for generations to come.  Lastly, we will apply a wax finish that helps create a “soft to the touch” appeal.

It seems that I learn a new lesson with every form.  The way I see it, I am not really creating anything so much as I am doing the work necessary for you to see what nature offers behind the bark of a tree.  What often looks like firewood, is hiding a unique beauty.”

Robert Paul Galleries is proud to show the works of American artist J. Ruel Martin.