I’ve owned my share of coffee tables over the years – metal, glass, plywood, etc. – the usual temporary furniture catalogue fodder…it was about time for something a bit more personal. For almost a year, my daily commute to work would take me past a small urban tree recycle operation in the empty lot behind a self-storage complex, where amidst the mountains of bark dust and ready-to-use fire wood, propped up against a shipping container, towered a couple of ponderosa pine slabs the size of pick-up trucks. After finally mustering up the nerve to ask, I was finally able to negotiate a single 500 pound, 9 by 3½ foot, 3 inch thick slab into my garage – where it laid, dormant, drying over the next half year.
Insert about a month of sawing, planning, sanding, gilding, sheathing, hammering and finishing here…
Salvaged elements of rustic beauty and heavy industry fuse to create this commanding coffee table. Living in a port city, I intentionally drew inspiration from a by-gone era of majestic ocean-liners, with highly polished wooden decks and hand-hammered copper boiler plates. This contrast in materials led to a uniquely distinctive centerpiece; especially as the late afternoon sun strikes the table’s copper-clad underbelly bathing the living room floor in a warm glow of red and orange hues.
A single 6 by 3½ to 4 foot 3 inch thick ponderosa pine slab forms the rustic table top – its 2 cut sides are sanded smooth to counter the tree’s 2 live edges; an almost 1½ inch thick bark. During the drying period, the slab sustained a dozen lateral cracks, which I filled and gilded with copper leaf prior to finishing its surface. Complete with the illusion of concealing a copper vein beneath its skin, the entire slab was coated (unstained) with 7 layers of polyurethane, not only to protect, but to extenuate the wood’s natural knots and burly grain. At 16 inches tall, the four legged base boasts over 32 square feet of salvaged copper plating, 16 feet of 1 inch copper piping and a half pound of attaching copper hardware – amassing, with the top, a staggering 400 pounds.