A few months ago I started working on what I was calling "The Viking Table".
The base was made from a old barn beam that was partially rotted out. I never came across a top that would be worthy of a dining table top, so the base just sat there.
I had a beam from a demolished factory, and I decided to throw it on the base, just to see how it would look. It's not wide enough for a dining table, but perfect for a console or work table.
The top is in the neighborhood of 70 to 80 plus years old, and at some point, probably had to support at least a few tons. needless to say, it was pretty beat up.
When a piece is in that bad of shape, you have 2 options...
1. fire wood
2. reconstructive surgery
It has way too much character to get chucked into a fire pit, so my job is to keep it in tact but not lose the character.
What I did was, remove the rot with a draw knife, mortise in a couple Dutchman joints, made a steel plate to gusset the split end, and mortise in steel bar supports on the bottom to prevent any further splitting.
Another support system for the top rests on how the top is mounted to the base. I cut support brackets from angle iron that was used to support the stair cases at Salvage One at one time. The spread of the holes that I drill into the support brackets will provide added support for the top.
I know the technical speak bores the shit out of most people, so know this...it's way "over built" and stronger now then the day it was hoisted up in that factory.
I'm going to use a teak oil finish on it.
Oil finishes aren't nearly as durable as a polyurethane finish, but they can really enhance the age of a piece as well as give it a warm and almost "buttery" feel.
What I'm really liking about this piece, is it's soul.
I remember making the base in the winter, I remember how cold and nasty it was outside. I remember driving past where the factory was torn down and seeing the beam for the top. I remember going back to that spot at 5am. and chucking a 200lb. beam over a 8' fence, and wrestling it into the back of my truck. I remember when they were re-doing the stairwells at Salvage One, and the old Polish welder bringing me the scrap steel that they cut out and saying "maybe you make something with this...shit, yes?"
I'm connected to this piece.
Some pieces are made from cool stuff that is brought to me, and some pieces carry a history and a time stamp...kinda like a tattoo.
The pieces with the stories are the hardest for me to let go of.
Whoever buys it will most likely never know it's history.
Did you ever walk into to someones home, and you're like "oh, that's a nice table." and they're like "yeah, I got it from Pottery Barn." That conversation ends there. Now, have you ever saw a piece in someones home and they have some great fuckin' story about where it came from or how they got it? Suddenly, that piece just got a whole lot better, and that person just became way more interesting.
My furniture is for grown ups.
Just because you have years behind you, doesn't make you grown up.
To me, a grown up understands the hand, the story, the connection. A grown up wants to carry the torch and pass it on. A grown up will take ownership. A grown up will cultivate a respect and appreciation, and then expect it in return.
Yep, my shits for grown ups.