Friday, August 25, 2017

Another BIG Table - built and delivered!

In case you're wondering if I've been sitting on my thumbs in an air conditioned home, you could be right!  For the past week, anyway, that's just what I've been doing.

But, first, full disclosure:  I have caved and created both a Widow's workshop Facebook page and an Instagram page.  They are both easier to update on the fly; pictures are already on my phone and I can just click and send, with or without text, to either of those social media outlets.  Through those, along with an Etsy shop, have found a few buyers for some of the things I create.  So, just a quick explanation for why you haven't seen recent updates to my blog and why you might think I've just been sitting around eating bon bons!

Now, here's the story about what had me busy the last few weeks.  

A couple of tables back, a young woman contacted me about building her a table similar to the most recent table I'd listed for sale.  She liked it, but was looking for something a little more modern, something like tables from Restoration Hardware or West Elm.  And, she wanted a silver finish!  Could I do it, she asked.  Well,  hmmmmm, let me go look at some of the pieces she liked and I'd get back to you, I said.  While the tables looked fairly basic, both companies create what looks like very sophisticated joinery using veneers.  I don't/haven't done veneer work.  I told her I could make a big bulky table like she was looking for, but it would be fairly basic in design.  I did agree that I could do a very light grain release and give her a silvery finish.  I created a sample for her, explained that due to the extra work the finish would involve, the price would probably be a couple hundred dollars more than the table they'd initially seen and liked, and they decided they wanted to move forward.  I had to explain to this sweet young woman that the summer of surgeries was ahead of me and I wouldn't be able to get to it until the end of July or first of August.  While my brave girls were getting their lives in order, my new customer was also having a busy summer that involved landscaping and pool building.  In the midst of that she called and explained that they just didn't think they could spend the money right then and would have to wait.  Honestly, I think I danced a jig!  I'd just finished two huge tables - heavy tables, and I knew that I'd be an aching mess during this table build.  I was so relieved to not have to think about starting that project!  And, then about 4 weeks later I got a text saying that they'd decided that they did want the table and could I make it for them.  Big sigh, yes I can... I even built a prototype for them to make sure they liked the simple plan I had.

Not sure, but maybe Owen will get an outdoor play table...

So, that's what I did.  I happened to be at Logger Daughter's right before the build was to begin.  I stopped by a saw mill my SIL said I just had to see.  It's owned and operated by Al, an 84 year old man!  

Al was up at the top of this pile, found these 16' boards, swiveled them around, hollered at me not to "help" and to get out of the way, got down and loaded these on the fork lift and drove them around to the front of his shop.  The next day I went back for one more board and he just carried it around to the front of the shop - on his shoulder, up-not dragging one end!

You probably can't see it, but Al always has a cigar in his hand.  When I was there it wasn't lit, but he never put the thing down!  It's like it's become a part of his hand.

Oh this guy could run rings around a 20 year old!!!  He was moving timber from log piles to the mill, hoisting these things up like they were just a tiny bit heave.  He was climbing all over the tall, tall, stacks of cut lumber searching for just the right lumber for me.  He cut, he jointed, he planed.  I was in awe of him.  And, I came home with a truck load of the finest cedar and pine I've ever seen.  I did have to plane the pine boards for the table top, other than that, they were ready to go.  

Beautiful - and fairly straight!

Glued and clamped.

I used biscuits to connect the planks.  

Table base made from cedar.  Those legs were used straight from the mill.  Slightly rough cut, but straight as could be!

Pretty - and now you can see just how little space I have in here!!

Before grain release
After grain release - I used a wire wheel attached to my drill to slowly brush across every inch of the table top.  You can see the results better in the pictures below.
Then I sanded it to get rid of the fuzzies, and smooth it out as much as I could without losing that grain!

And then I sprayed on a coat of  Rustoleum Hammered Silver paint.
 And, then I sanded.  And then I dry brushed on a coat of Rustoleum Metallic Silver.  

Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch 32 oz. Ultra Cover Metallic Silver General Purpose Paint

Such pretty highlights.  I have to say, at the beginning of this project, this would not have been my choice of finish.  Once it was complete, I was won over.  It really is a pretty look.  Glamorous, but the rough wood grain keeps it real.

Done!  Ready for pick up.

The base has two coats of oil-based polyurethane and the top has 4 coats.  Before the final coat, I added another dry brushing of silver metallic paint.  The oil-based poly has an amber tint that took the shiny silver down a notch, and I wanted as much shiny silver as possible to show.  I thought it was good.  Although my client loves the table, she really wanted less amber or wood tones to show, and more silver so she will be adding more of the silver metallic (dry brushing).  You know my policy - I make it, I'll finish it even though I'm not a finisher, and then I'm done.  You pay me and take it.

I think they will love the table once she's played with it a bit.  I suggested they add accessories and the chairs (gray velvet with silvery nail heads) and see if they still noticed the amber tones or if maybe it would be just what they wanted after all.  I think she'll do that, but she may still want to see what she can do to get her silver!  She's promised me pictures once they have time to get their dining room together.  We'll see...