Turning Archive 2004

Which side is UP??

>The question was asked about a burl for hanging on a wall. The answer will determine how it is seen, and therefore, how it will sell. The location of the "hook" can mean $$$'s, whether it be a wall hanging or a pocket watch.

The following is my opinion on how it should be placed for viewing.

There are 3 simple rules for the location of the "hook". If you don't believe me, break any one of them and see if that one is selected over another that obeyed all the rules, even though it may have the better "grain picture".

Plan ahead. The application of these rules has to start long before we put a piece of wood in the lathe, whether that selection is made with a chainsaw, or choosing a piece of wood from the pile or shelf.

The First Rule:
All curved lines, or any general curvature in the overall wood pattern or shape, should open upward. Any curvature that opens downward will have the appearance of sadness or of spilling its contents.. In other words, the "U" shape of the grain pattern should open upward.

The center of gravity of the wall hanging should be below the horizontal center-line. In other words, it should appear to be stable, and not ready to roll over from of the weight being on top. A little rocking is OK, but not a roll-over.

The Second Rule:
Any dark or highly figured area should be located anywhere but on the bottom or the top. At the bottom it has the appearance of "heaviness" and that it fell under its own weight. Put it on the top, and it has the appearance of being unstable. Anywhere in between these extremes will "work".

If "diagonal" is not a choice, always select the bottom.

The Third Rule:
Straight lines should be vertical. Diagonal works, but NEVER horizontal. Slightly curved lines can be horizontal when they follow the First Rule for an upward curvature.

When all three are in conflict, you will have to determine which are the dominant factors - shape, grain lines, or color; and look for a general appearance. Always be prepared to change when nobody else agrees with you. That means not making the "hook" a permanent attachment to the piece unil after it is sold. screw holes are hard to disguise when you got it wrong.

NOTE that all of these rules also apply to bowls and platters, from the orientation of grain and form when it is turned to how we place the piece on the table for the viewer.

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