|Project by Ozfiddler||posted 01-13-2009 01:25 AM||1612 views||2 times favorited||16 comments|
When the 2003 Canberra Bushfire hit us we were extremely lucky only to lose the garden – up to the front door mat! and only surface damage to the house – not bad as we were only four houses back form the initial fire front. We had a big ribbon gum tree (Eucalyptus viminaris) in the front yard that was burnt and dangerous. It was the biggest tree in the garden and I thought just maybe there would be enough to get some timber – so when we had it felled two weeks later I had arranged with a local saw-mill to have the tree milled into boards. They even let me assist with the milling process. So I came home with a van load of boards about 2.2m x 175mm and instructions on how best to sticker it for the next four years.
Fast forward and last year I thought long and hard about how best to honour the tree that took the brunt of the fire front and effectively saved the house.
My wife and I had always thought our dining table was a bit small for dinner parties, so I embarked on by far my biggest project so far. It was a great excuse to buy a jointer ;-) – a 6” long table Sherwood which works really well and coped with the long heavy gum tree giving me a bunch of nicely dressed boards. I also had some good sized square lumber from the same tree.
I wanted something large, but light-looking and decided on gently tapered legs and a contrast for the skirt and breadboard ends to give it visual closure – the skirt and ends are Western Australian jarrah (Eucalyptus marinata) – which is like a rich burgundy with the density of mahogany.
I filled the sap voids in the ribbon-gum with fibreglass resin sanded the whole thing to 1500 grit and finished the top with two coats of Rustins Plastic Finish – a two-part alkyd finish that is extremely hard wearing and gives a good durable finish.
The joinery is pretty basic mortise and tenon – reinforced with low-profile screw dowels and the top is joined with biscuits. The breadboard ends are supported separately on a sub-frame and loose doweled to allow for seasonal movement with only the centre dowels glued and the ends are slot-screwed to the sub-frame.
The underframe comes almost to the edge on the sides as ribbon gum is very strong along the grain and very weak across it.
I made the decorative rosettes from red maple.
I finished it just over a year ago and we have had many good dinner parties around it since.
-- Jerry, Australia