A New Mexico furniture maker specializes in exotic wood.

This ”Bronco“ juniper entry table, with a hand-carved bowl in the top, is inlaid with Apache Gold vein agate and #8 turquoise.

Andy Sánchez, owner of Andy & Aaron Custom Furniture — a family-operated studio located in Algodones, NM, specializes in custom pieces made from exotic juniper, as well as mesquite and walnut.

Sánchez often uses rare, ancient juniper found only in the deserts of New Mexico. Many of these trees have died of old age, Sánchez says. Some of them he estimates are more than 1,000 years old.

In describing how he gets the wood, Sánchez explains that, “After obtaining a permit, we hike long distances to find dead, standing trees in the National Forest. No large equipment is allowed in these protected areas, so the large trunks are slabbed on site with hand-held chain saws.”

For the project pictured at right named “Bronco,” Sánchez used alligator juniper from a tree that he estimates was more than 500 years old. The branch was not slabbed in the desert, and Sánchez says that is what made it “perfect” for this table. He used a diamond blade for carving and the wood was hand sanded.

The piece has contrasting smooth and rough textures as illustrated by the bowl carved in the center, which gives it “the appearance of the head of a Bronco with a free flowing mane represented by the rough bark,” Sánchez notes.

“Since I had an idea of constructing a table with a bowl carved into it, I needed a branch with the bark texture running in a certain direction,” Sánchez says.

A jewelry inlay technique was used to inlay the gold and turquoise stones and it was finished with a hand-rubbed oil and wax.

For more information about Andy & Aaron Custom Furniture, visit www.andysanchez.com.

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