Josh burke [04/05/2014]
that is a absolute beauty! I am building a table on a slab table on a much smaller scale out of maple. Did you have to use any bowties to stop checking? What did you use for a finish on the top it is beauty!
Its nice. You did a good job adding your own flare to the base. The finish looks nice too. Overall, nice table.
But on this topic, and not directed at you, I Personally am over the slab table trend. But I can appreciate the beauty in each individual slab. Even though a lot of the time, craftsman take credit for the beauty. Its that trend in itself that gives me the feeling of pretentiousness. At the end of the day, most of these tables are flattened, sanded, sprayed, and slapped onto some sort of base. None of which requires any great deal of skill.
End users still love it, and that is what matters for many, and that's fine.
The art of proportion, and use of grain and color, curves, lines, functionality with style, true strong joinery; its all in exchange for a faster easier way to make money.
Does anyone else feel this way? I'm not trying to drag anyone down. And to reiterate, these tables are very nice.
attempting to impress by affecting greater importance, talent, culture, etc., than is actually possessed.
It would appear that "pretentious" is more applicable with your comment, rather than slab tables.
Alex @ Finishing Touch Carpentry [04/22/2014]
glad you think my work is "nice". We take great pride in our craftsmanship here at Finishing Touch.
The reality is most everything we do these days as artisans has been done and maybe even perfected by generations before us.
Weather it be carving, veneering, cabinetry, or yes slab tables. It's the pride we put into our pieces and the enjoyment we and those around us recieve from them that make them special.
This set was very special.
My buddy Phill the sawyer who recognized the inherent beauty in this tree before it was felled is where this story starts.
A walnut tree 4 to 5' wide with a 14' tall base
Carefully dug out around the base, cut in just the right spots, cranned onto a commercial flat bed truck. Then brought to his yard were it was stabbed on a wood mizer 1000. Stickered perfectly, Air dried for several years.
Than I enter the picture.
Fortunate enough to be able to purchase the entire log and bring back to my yard in Lake Tahoe. Here is where I kiln dry my lumber products to perfection.
Having a vision and a drawing in my scrap book for this furniture set long before my client even approaches me.
Our in house craftsman who carefully lays out center lines to cut this beauty so she sits as she should. Barnwood timber legs from a California barn we dismantled ourselves.
Steel plates radiused on a plate roller we engineered and built here at our shop.
Hand forged lags created in house by one of my artisans.
Not to mention the finisher and 6 guys it took to deliver and set up.
Nothing fast or easy about this project.
Years in the making, machinery few posess along with some mighty fine gentlemen is what made this table what it is.
So to say it was "flattened, sanded, sprayed and slapped on a base" is a gross understatement of how this piece went down.
Thanks for looking
Finishing Touch Carpentry
Well, there was no attack with my comment. My reference to pretentious was not directed at Alex,the furniture, or his crew. The words "Nice" obviously were taken more as an understatement, when in reality, I meant very NICE. Nothing more, nothing less. No discredit, no doubt in its integrity. A very NICE representation of the style- done justice to. The story of the piece Alex described is greater than the reference I was however talking about with my use of the word "pretentious."
I see it a lot, though. And the story isn't always so thoughtful. We often see PARTIALLY air dried slabs halfheartedly sawn, and finished. Attached to prefab legs, trying to fetch a price beyond its merits... Weighed against examples like this for instance.
I should have said it is refreshing to see such a NICE example of live edge furniture. Because too often the style is haphazardly executed, and then overpaid for by someone trying to fit in. We see it all the time.
I actually visited your website before I commented, Alex. I wish you hadn't taken my comments personal. Perhaps it was my mood that let me comment in the first place.
And Bud, you misinterpreted my use of the word pretentious. And I'm not all smug with my work or comments. Regardless, my bad mood rubbed off on the wrong foot, and to all I apologize.
Its an opinion I have and a conversation I've never shared. I was curious of others' thoughts.
I too source my own logs, saw it flitch cut, either 12/4 or 8/4 maybe 16/4 containing the pith which I sometimes remove, dry it slowly, and use it. Often times, the logs are salvaged from firewood decks, where they surely don't belong. I've recovered some exceptional stuff.
A WM1000 would be pretty nice!
No worries JD
I understand where your coming from, and have seen many back yard special "live edge tables"
It seems any kid with an LT40 is automatically a furniture maker. But we all gotta start somewhere. And where ever you find your inspiration ...so be it.
So I guess it's difficult for me to be objective as far as the live edge trend is concerned as I find these magnificant pieces of wood a great source of inspiration.
I have a batch of these walnut slabs in my kiln now. 62" x 160"
They are covered in feathering and fiddle back like you wouldn't believe, Huge instrument grade slabs.
Can't wait to get into these!.
No doubt a claro tree that big would be instrument grade like you describe. Nothing like old growth. I had a pair of 44" x 148" claro slabs that had quite a few defects scattered throughout it. But, man was the color and figure amazing! I broke the slabs down around the defects, re-sawed much of it into veneer and stretched it all over a five piece set for a church in so-cal. The person who sold it to me was somewhat emotionally attached to the wood, and cringed at the thought of turning that beautiful wood into "a bunch of veneer". I figured it took courage to do what I did, rather than take the common route and showcase the wood for it was as-is in a live edge style piece. Some day I'll do that. But I'm really glad I did what I did, and I still have many remnants from that project. Saving them for a special rainy day...
I've got a nice, giant bastogne walnut tree that is going to come down in the next couple years and flitch cut. Maybe I'll make one of these slab tables myself someday with it, and call it "a paradox".
This old growth redwood barn I'm disassembling this summer has some super nice timbers in it. Your project is something to emulate-- I'll keep it in mind for inspiration when that time comes.
The table you created is simply marvelous. I am dumbfounded at the craftsmanship... bravo and I hope you're making more... because these are pieces of artwork.