Saturday, 23 February 2013

"Never know what's in the Pickle Barrel 'til ya taken the lid offen it".

  A couple of years ago my brother in law left me with a desktop that once belonged to our father in law. As a tribute to his memory Kevin asked me if I could make something of it. The old top was losing the veneer on one side and the edges were broken so we figured the most obvious thing to make from it would be a table but he was open to interpretation.

  Veneer construction in furniture is like making Oreo cookies. The outer layers (veneer) sandwich a center (substrate) usually made up of wood which costs less or contains visual defects. I stripped a small corner of the veneer off one side to see what the substrate was made from and found that it was oak. It seemed okay. I decided to strip the veneer off of one side, refinish the other side and put a quick table together. After a hurried removal of veneer I put the top in the wood shed to await another day.

  It was a while until that day came and the top had cupped like a drying leaf in the fall. Damn! Really, that is the word I used. Another thing is that I didn't really take a good look at the substrate after removing the veneer. I had figured the marks on the wood must be nail marks or whatever. Well I stripped the rest of the veneer off to find out what we were left with.

 Once all was done it became obvious why they used this wood for a substrate. It had been infested at one time with beetles. This sometimes happens between sawing up the tree and drying. Kiln drying the wood killed the infestation. Too bad, those boards had promise to be some really nice furniture.

 I figured the best thing to do now was get a six pack and have a really nice fire. As I was looking for matches and kindling I thought if the lumber makers didn't offer this wood up to the fire gods then maybe I could still make something with it. Too bad because I really was looking forward to the beer.

  My mind was racing, what do you do with oak that is riddled with holes? Drink beer? No, lets say the wood is distressed, get some steel for a little industrial feel and listen to the Sex Pistols while I work.

  People I give you DIP.

  Yes, that is short for Distressed Industrial Punk. Soon to be all the rage in the Soho galleries. Critics will look down there long noses and marvel it. Furniture purist will despise it. Those that are hip will want it. Only a lucky few will own it...... awe, it's been done before.

 So the photos show what we have left. I hope they can find a spot to use it or pass it on to the kids and keep a little bit of family history around. Click the photos to enlarge them.

I still really prefer and enjoy making fine furniture but a little tour through the wrong side of town can be interesting. Hopefully the breadboard ends on the top will lend it a little refinement.

As always, thanks for reading.


  1. I LOVE it. What a great solution to the problem. I hope you had a beer to celebrate, even without the bonfire. Your father-in-law would be very proud.

    1. Thanks Carol they loved it when they received it today.