Friday, January 26, 2024

A beast of a project

It started when a customer brought this piece to my shop, asking me to turn it into a coffee table.

I'm not even sure what to call this – from this view, which is the bottom of it, it looks like an old farmhouse door. Maybe something from a cellar, with numerous coats of paint, and some odd handwriting on the panels. The wood surrounding the doors is massive and heavy, and mostly rotted.

They also gave me a set of legs, and upon further inspection, these legs appear to be made from solid blocks of wood.  I can't identify the species, but I know the wood is heavy. 

Really heavy.

The skirting around this piece was in horrible shape, with old hardware attached to it, and dozens of nails in it. 

Most of them were bent over, and I pulled out this cut off wheel

 to get rid of the nails.

Did I mention some large cracks in the skirting? 

Luckily, I had a syringe that made it easy to get glue in all of the cracks. After clamping all of the repairs, the cracks mostly disappeared. 

The corner of one of the skirting boards that was missing. These boards have such a nice patina and distressing to them, that I decided to repair this corner. So I trimmed off the ragged edge, 

 and dug out a piece of wood to match it.

 It had to be planed down to the same thickness as the skirting board, and glued in place.

Then I trimmed it. I'm pretty sure I can blend the color with stain to match the older patina. 

When I turned my attention to the legs, I realized that the top part of each leg was out of square, and at different lengths. I have no idea how they made those legs work for this piece, but maybe these legs were from another project. 


One by one, I attached each leg to the corners, attaching them in place with perpendicular bolts. Drilling through the top of these legs felt like drilling through concrete. 

In some cases, the wood was so rotten that I had to add metal plates to provide stability. 

And finally, all four legs were bolted in place. 

I'll have to ask a few strong friends to help me get this upright on a cart.

Next up? 

The skirting... the boards are warped and gnarly, and I'll need to enlist Hugo, my metal artist, to make some corner brackets to hide the ends of these boards. A few of them look like a dog has chewed them.

Stay tuned!


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