From tree to bar! #1: Introduction

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Blog entry by JonoMcHugh posted 12-08-2014 07:28 AM 1019 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of From tree to bar! series Part 2: Planning and learning »

I have always been an ambitious person, never shy to give anything a go. I never start small and always jump in two feet first! Sometimes it pays off, sometimes not.

My name is Jono McHugh and I currently run a 5* safari lodge in the heart of the Okavango Delta, Northern Botswana. But home for me is a beautiful farm in the mountains of South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province. And it is there that I want to accomplish my ambitious (first ever) wood working project.

My dad is a man that can do it all. He has built houses, repaired vehicles, done electrical wiring and just about fixed anything else that broke around the house. I like to think I learnt a thing or two from him but time will tell. My dad always told me, “if you have the right tools for the job you can get the job done.”

So what exactly is my project about?.......

On our farm we have some beautiful Blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon) trees, some have fallen over from strong winds and heavy storms but most have remained. I want to cut down one of these trees (they are after all an invasive species in South Africa) and depending on how well I do at this project eventually remove all the trees and replace them with indigenous Yellow woods. We have a big spare room in our house with a fire place tucked nicely in the corner, a few chairs and that’s about it. With no kids, at the moment, my wife and I use the room very little except on cold evenings for the fire place. I would love to use one of the Blackwood trees as a bar counter top and create a little more character in the room. It must be rustic with knots, stumps, breaks, holes and have a lot of character about it. So although I need to treat and preserve the bar, I actually want to keep it as rough and natural as possible.

Seeing as its my first project, I figured along the way there will be mistakes, lessons learned and plans changed. Which is why I wanted to start this blog, not only too record my progress but also for others to learn from and also chip in and help!

So here it goes…......

-- If you don't will you know!

4 comments so far

View johnstoneb's profile


2104 posts in 1593 days

#1 posted 12-08-2014 03:58 PM

Sound like a beautiful project. Can you post some pictures of the trees standing and as you process them.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View JonoMcHugh's profile


8 posts in 687 days

#2 posted 12-08-2014 04:45 PM

Afternoon Bruce,

I will definately send in some pictures. Im still in Botswana at the moment and heading home in January when I’ll get the photos taken and start the project.

-- If you don't will you know!

View David Bareford's profile

David Bareford

66 posts in 1028 days

#3 posted 12-10-2014 03:09 PM

Looking forward to following this project! I’m a huge fan of tree-to-furniture work. What is your shop setup like? Are you mostly hand tools or power? (Hand too guy, myself).

View JonoMcHugh's profile


8 posts in 687 days

#4 posted 12-10-2014 03:31 PM

Hi there David,

Thanks for the message, I will be posting plenty of photos every step of the way! Don’t have a shop setup per say mainly a big farm shed with lots of farming implements inside. To be honest I am not really sure what type of guy I am with regards to hand tools and power tools seeing as this is my first real project. One of the reasons I went with a rustic big bar is because it wouldn’t require much skill in terms of fine details. My wife has already put in an order for a Gazebo in our garden which will require a lot more skill, so once I have done that project also I guess i’ll know whether its power tools or hand tools!

Take care

-- If you don't will you know!

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