Building a Reclaimed Wood Table
April 26, 2012
Matt and I have been discussing the idea of constructing a rustic table for a few months now and we have a local salvage yard nearby that offers different kinds of reclaimed wood for just such a project. We’ve gone back and forth on whether we want to build one for the outdoors or a slightly more polished version for our kids playroom area, soon to be converted to a study.
A few months ago I got an email from Will of Windfall Cove, introducing himself and we struck up a conversation. I’m so fascinated with this process so I asked Will to share some more information about how he builds a reclaimed wood farm table.
Will and his business partner Brian used to work in fire and medical services, but had a long time passion for woodworking, so they decided to follow it and begin a new business building furniture for people in their area and Windfall Cove was born. (I love these kinds of stories!) In their Massachusetts town, Will and Brian handcraft heirloom quality rustic pieces with weathered and reclaimed barn wood (detail seen below) with their customer’s custom design in mind.
Here’s Will to share the process of building a reclaimed wood farm table:
“Hello CG readers, Will here to share with you how a table goes from order to completion at Windfall Cove. Our clients usually have a familiar story. They have a particular space in their home or office that is in need of the perfect piece of furniture. After they have shopped with furniture stores and either are dissatisfied with the options or found that items sold cannot be ordered to the exact size or style they are in need of, we come in to build a custom table for them.
Once we are contacted we will start a plan discussion with our client to talk about the design, size, stain color and work out all the details for their project or simply brainstorm an idea. We build each piece to our client’s specifications, we are proud of our finished products and love hearing from our clients and seeing the piece in its intended place.
We regularly visit an old saw mill that was originally built in the early 1900s and still saws Northeastern White Pine now generations later. With our customer’s design, we head out to the mill and there, we hand pick each weathered or reclaimed board that will be a perfect fit for the project. In our shop, we lay out the boards, line up grain patterns, and rough cut the length.
Each board has its own grain pattern that is produced during tree growth. A series of loops, lines and knots provide different patterns. At times, we are able to find two boards that were cut in sequence from the log and provides what we call a "book match". Since boards are moved all around during the sawing process, it is difficult to find boards from the same tree at times.
We use a common bonding process to join the top boards using high strength glue, biscuits and bar clamps to secure.
After drying overnight we trim and hand shape the top, grinding and sanding methods are used to get the desired texture and shape.
We offer a few base styles, this particular project known as the common "Farm Table" has square legs with an offset. Other base styles are available, such as our version of the Industrial Trestle and a more modern Parsons style as well. At this point, we will construct the desired base for the table based on the customer’s specifications. Here, 4 inch square legs are attached to the newly constructed apron. We use Red Oak for the corner blocks to provide a strong anchor point for the legs.
During this stage of construction, we can add a few rustic characteristics to enhance the finished product, such as dents and dings made with a chain. Many items with different shapes, sizes or textures can be used to either strike or scrape the wood surface adding character to the wood that will be enhanced once the table is stained.
Once we assemble the base, using the same rough cut wood stock as the top, we attach it then stain the table to the customers specifications. Common stain colors tend to be within the brown or red family. We also have and continue to research natural stains like coffee, wine or even sediment from old nails left in a bucket to rust. Our research has shown that the natural stains do not have nearly the color pigments within manufactured stains, however does have a slight tint that would appeal to a client that desires more of the bare or natural wood finishes.
To finish the table, we use a polyurethane and apply two coats over two days. A little light sanding and a natural polish, and the table is done. It is always a nice addition to any room for gathering with family or friends for a home cooked meal and conversation.”
Wow, that wood has so much character, don’t you think? This is not a sponsored post, I just loved their story how they followed their passion and I’m so fascinated with this kind of handcraftsmanship!
If you have any questions about the process, feel free to ask them and I’ll have Will follow up with some answers!