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Friday, August 12, 2016

New Walnut Table

For the second time in less than a year, I have been contracted to produce a walnut table from boards milled from a tree that had been growing for over a hundred years on the client's property.

The first one I did was a traditional four legged harvest table that was nine feet long. This newest one is eight feet long but a foot wider and a more modern design. I am in the process of sanding the top now and will soon finish the trapezoidal base.

It seems remarkable that these two projects have such a similar origin. The trees were cut and the wood milled by the same guy, Mark Heilman from Middletown. He has a Woodmiser sawmill and he cuts, hauls, mills the wood and stores it for several years in such a way that it dries straight and true without warping. This the key to all woodworking and without this vital step any project is doomed to failure as green wood WILL warp and crack.

Working on tables like this moves me to a different level of woodworking from my more usual rustic work. It is more exacting and the materials are much more valuable and irreplaceable. They also carry the history of the growing tree into the future as the wood is incorporated into a piece of furniture that will be cherished by the family and will be passed into future generations that will know the story of the tree which grew on their property, the wood and the maker. This really appeals to me and I am flattered and honored to be part of this process. These tables will likely be in existence far longer than my rustic work. And far past my lifetime.

The families are able to be part of the construction process as they are involved in making decisions regarding height, selection of the boards to be used, placement of the legs and finish. They also are able to see the progress of how the table is made, something rarely experienced in our modern world.

I am proud and happy for visitors to my shop to see the table in progress.

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