When Tyler and I rented this apartment together, we knew we wanted a table. Our common room has a linear kitchen at one end and the couch & coffee table at the other. Our plan (and in concordance with FARMHOUSE KITCHEN, DIFFERENT CHAIRS, and HALF-FILLED WALL) was to divide the two spaces with the dining table–and to get some extra counter and storage space. With tons of natural light, white walls, and blond flooring, we knew we wanted a solid, darker piece to balance the room–something with rough, warm materials. It also needed to be unusually high, to provide a standing work surface. After rejecting a few expensive and ill-sized pieces from craigslist, catalogs and furniture stores, we decided to build one ourselves.
I saw my first live-edge table freshman year at Carleton; an acquaintance had completed one as a part of their woodworking study, and invited a small group to dinner to celebrate. Oak, I believe–roughly eight feet by 40 inches, a beautiful pair of book-matched slabs cleaved perfectly from bark to core, and polished to a fine sheen. The top rest on legs only 18 inches in height; we sat on the floor or cushions. For seven years the feeling of that table resonated in my memory. Now I had the workshop and living space to make one myself.
I should mention that I’m an amateur woodworker at best. My grandpa was a fine craftsman in furniture and instruments, and my father built most of the furniture in our house, but my contact with the art is limited to helping my dad build storage lofts, beds, and the like, and small projects by myself. I have a good intuitive sense of space and color, and of force geometry; a beginner’s understanding of wood grain and technique; a few basic tools; an ample supply of patience; and a willingness to learn from books, lore, and by experiment. In many aspects of this design I chose the path which was cheaper, or accessible with limited tools, or allowed more tolerance for error. There’s a huge gap in design and execution between this table and a professional piece. And still: I wouldn’t give up the hundred-odd hours I invested for a finer piece built by someone else.
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