Op­por­tu­nity knocks

The Shed - - Creative woodwork -

A col­lec­tion of dis­carded old Tas­ma­nian oak shelv­ing and beams came my way from a re­cent re­fur­bish­ment at the school where I work. With a bit of re-dress­ing these have proved ideal for the new cof­fee ta­ble top. The age of the tim­ber al­most guar­an­tees there will be a min­i­mum of shrink­ing, warp­ing, or twist­ing af­ter it has been built. It is also ex­tremely tough and hard, so it should cope eas­ily with the knocks and abuse it will un­doubt­edly be sub­ject to in the fu­ture.

Best of all, it is real tim­ber, not the MDF or ve­neered ‘fur­ni­ture’ we are sub­jected to in fur­ni­ture shops. Nor am I aid­ing and abet­ting the pil­lage of our dwin­dling rain­forests. I’m re­cy­cling tim­ber that would oth­er­wise have been des­tined for the fire.

Of course us­ing re­cy­cled tim­ber means ac­cept­ing some flaws, such as the odd nail or bolt hole, and the di­men­sions are dic­tated by the ma­te­rial avail­able, rather than the de­sign. I re­gard both of these as­pects as part of the chal­lenge that makes the project in­ter­est­ing. In fact, small flaws add char­ac­ter to the piece. You ap­pre­ci­ate that this is not some masspro­duced item; it is unique with a his­tory of its own.

The in­dus­trial look

For the legs I chose a pair of leaf springs, in­verted to raise the ta­ble to a suit­able height. These im­parted the in­dus­trial

“Of course us­ing re­cy­cled tim­ber means that some flaws can­not be re­moved”

look I wanted. I re­alise my choice of legs and a heavy tim­ber top have made for a very heavy cof­fee ta­ble but it’s a price I was will­ing to pay. Hope­fully, it will not have to be moved around much.

My first task was to dress the three main boards that com­prise the bulk of the top to achieve a uni­form thick­ness of 18mm. I then used a Festool and

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