WOOD AND STONE                                                              May 2015



Recently, a client needed to replace the wood base under a stone tabletop used outdoors. The joints had loosened up over the years, to the point where the table had a disconcerting wobble. There was a pressing deadline on the project, the aesthetic was plain, and the budget modest.


The table was small enough to seat two intimately, four easily, even six close friends for a lively meal. The base had to get out of the way. The stone top was orbicular granite, extremely rare worldwide, from a small, local deposit. It looks like speckled stone lily pads.


We had to make a simple, durable, custom base at modest cost for a special stone tabletop.


The original base was a trestle, a good choice because it's roomy enough for a number of knees and feet underneath the table to fit between or straddle the parts. We made a classic tusk tenon joint between trestle bar and uprights, allowing for easy seasonal disassembly. A few taps with the hammer, and every time it's put together again, the base will be as rigid as the day it was made.


The wood had to be high density, for solid joints, and naturally rot resistant. Teak would have done the job, but its cost alone would have exceeded the budget. Inexpensive native black locust, however, is hard as nails and lasts for decades with no finish at all, even in the ground (as Yankee fence posts). We prefer it, so we made the trestle feet (the most exposed part of the base) of locust, and the other parts of salvaged oak. Both woods were well seasoned, with a few checks, knots, and holes to add character.


Our work often requires time-consuming joinery, surfacing, and finishes, but this project demanded the opposite, and provided the rare satisfaction of moving quickly from concept to finished product.


Sun and rain will soon turn the wood grey from the bottom up, it will blend with its surroundings on the deck, and outlast us all.

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