Here's how I brought a couples dream of having a unique live-edge dining room table to life.
When I was originally asked to make this table the plan was for one large slab for the top approximately 7ftx3ft. This was possible but after the first consultation with the client it was decided to use split chestnut due to the size, weight and cost of a slab that big. I could also see the love this person had for live-edge timber, so what better than to have a table that is full of natural shapes, colours and different grain patterns.
So the project was a go! I began by selecting two boards with the most interesting shapes for the outside edge and the other planks. This was from timber I had previously hand-milled myself and left to season.
Next up was the splitting process. Once I had the two outer edges split, I split another three planks and set them up together to see which ones would be best next to each other with the least alteration.
Once happy, the shaping took place using a adze. A little bit of finesse with a spoke shave and a final bit of sanding got these planks ready.
So, it now sat together beautifully and the next job was to make the cross brace and cut the underside out with the chainsaw and chisel. Actual blood, sweat and tears went into this part of the build to get it sat together right and secure.
Putting the top together next for the first time see the slow transformation from tree to table is so satisfying.
Now came the issue of the legs. Yes, those massive legs proved a bit of a challenge. The original plan was to carve the legs into a spiral. However I felt that they would compromise the fact that I'd tried to keep the top as natural as possible. Also I was worried about the effect it would have on the structural integrity of the wood as they had to support a lot of weight. So I invited the client back for a chat and a sneaky peek at the development of the table.
We agreed that chunky legs were the way forward. I now had to get down to the long and tedious sanding part of the job, it took the best part of two days getting the finish finer and finer but once oiled up, boy was it worth it.
Approximately five litres of oil (my own special blend) went into this table to achieve the finish I was after. What's the blend? First I use peanut oil to help with bringing out the rich dark notes, then lots of teak oil as a good feeder oil, then finally grape oil that helps form a hard seal and waterproofs the table to some degree.
The table was finished and I couldn't wait to get it into its new home. But, the actual delivery had been the last thing on my mind, so I enlisted the help of a strong friend and despite him nearly putting his back out we got it in the truck.
The look of excitement and anticipation was awesome but also made me feel so much pressure, especially as I had led them away from the original plan.
After getting the legs in place it was time for the top to be brought in and after some choice words it was sitting on its legs and in its new home. I was so excited as I hadn't even seen it all together yet. Taking the cover off was amazing, the joy in the customers faces made me breath a sigh of relief and they were over the moon.
But the story doesn't end there, I offer an aftercare package to oil the table and ensure and settling movements are managed. I also provided the customers with the table's story in images, showing it from tree to table and all the steps in between. I hope the table will help bring many a joy and gathering in the future for this couple who have now a truely unique piece of furniture in their home.