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Harvest table from Dillinger Distillery

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Project by oldwoodsale posted 03-31-2014 12:11 AM 2665 views 3 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The end of a long road has culminated in this heavy, very shiny, Harvest Table. A few years ago we lost our lease for the building we were renting so we went out and found a facility much larger than we needed but it would work. It was originally built as the Dillinger and Sons Distillery in Ruffs dale, PA. Construction was started in 1885. No information as to when it was completed but it seems like it was built quickly and after Prohibition, it declined quickly.  photo postcardbackofbuilding_zpsb1ec5eea.jpg

The only intact building that is left is one 10,000sq ft whiskey ageing house. An old post card states that it had the capacity to hold 50,000 barrels. You can see the peak of this warehouse on the extreme right of this old post card.

By the time we took over in 2006 there was no sign of whiskey left. But this one building, built from this era, does contain 70,000 bf of old growth oak, and many more thousands of board ft of hemlock, and pine. Due the age and condition of the structure, it is best to raise the building, but not before reclaiming all this nice wood.

The wood beams get progressively larger as you get to the lower floors

These hemlock beams were removed from the roof. There were just enough of them to make the table as a good portion of it had to be trimmed due to water damage.
The old square nails and tight grain of this wood dates it to the very early days of the distillery.

We selected the wide planks with a mix of patina and targeted a 96inch length for the table.

The skirt, will be secured with metal corner brackets.

Used Minwax Natural Stain on all of the wood. It was amazing to see the color pop
Used large size biscuits to join the table planks
Table top after trimming and stain
Nice texture
Applying the finish is where I really had to go to school. I used LumberJocks several times to assist in debugging finishing problems. I was/am very thankful for this help! This was the first of about 6 to 9 coats of epoxy and Spar Urethane. Which were sanded MANY times and polished to a glossy shine.
2000 grit sanded surface prior to polish. To get from the previous photograph to this one I am skipping about three months of time dealing with air bubble, and problems with orange peel.

After a couple rounds of polish

The final table


Many times I see “antique wood” furniture from old barns or some other source but none of the history is mentioned. The history really adds to the piece, so we designed a hand made etched copper plaque, The plaque is also signed and dated on the back. Each table we make will have a serial number and will be in logged in our photo data base.



I hoped you enjoyed this project. Thank you to the LumberJocks community for the assistance you have given me on this project.





14 comments so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

22005 posts in 1801 days


#1 posted 03-31-2014 01:18 AM

Thanks for sharing the story. Awesome work.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View niftynoel's profile

niftynoel

108 posts in 1009 days


#2 posted 03-31-2014 02:09 AM

This is great documentation, and very nice photographs. I went to Google maps to see where you’re located. The Google van just drove through town on Mt. Pleasant Road, but I was able to see the building to the north and the stack is obvious. (It looks like the second stack is no longer there. The table is really nice – I’ll be curious to see how the tables change over time. Just guessing you’ll branch out. Thank you for showing us. Fantastik.

-- Noel

View jasonallen's profile

jasonallen

175 posts in 1083 days


#3 posted 03-31-2014 02:11 AM

That is awesome. And the plaque is awesome too!

-- Skill and confidence are an unconquered army.

View Josh's profile

Josh

1201 posts in 2032 days


#4 posted 03-31-2014 02:39 AM

Wow, I love that table! And for all the right reasons, too! BTW, where is Ruffsdale? I spent the first 30some years of my life in PA but never heard of Ruffsdale. Hmmmmm…..

-- Tree, wood, and box lover from Pennsylvania

View OldWrangler's profile

OldWrangler

731 posts in 1057 days


#5 posted 03-31-2014 03:26 AM

The picture of the reclaimed lumber with it’s plethora of nails, send an icesickle down my spine just thinking about the planeing. I can see this would have been an expensive job with all the planer blades. What kind of wood is this and was it all rough cut?
Beautiful table, wood and workmanship.

-- I am going to go stand outside so if anyone asks about me, tell them I'M OUTSTANDING!

View RiaanK's profile

RiaanK

32 posts in 1281 days


#6 posted 03-31-2014 07:16 AM

That is one Beautiful table.

-- Riaan

View oldwoodsale's profile

oldwoodsale

21 posts in 2436 days


#7 posted 03-31-2014 09:49 AM

Thanks for the positive comments guys. To some of your questions,1) Ruffs Dale 15679 is about one hour to the south east of Pittsburgh. This area had several whiskey producers, the Dillingers and the Overholts. The Overholt is a actually a preserved facility and they have tours. That is located in nearby Scottdale PA. 2) The nails are time consuming. We have actually spent many hours figuring out special tools to pull them. They are brittle so many of them break off and you can’t grab them. We have developed several tools to get those snapped off ones out. The ones we miss, we saw through with our custom made Band Saw.

View MadeinMT's profile

MadeinMT

185 posts in 1623 days


#8 posted 03-31-2014 02:21 PM

Beautiful table and thanks for explaining the steps along the way. I have a (much) smaller pile of barnwood I plan to make a sofa table from and your tale will help that effort.

70,000 BF of weathered oak? Holy cow.

-- Ron, Montana

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

23157 posts in 2329 days


#9 posted 03-31-2014 02:58 PM

Interesting story and very nice work.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View mcoyfrog's profile

mcoyfrog

3800 posts in 3057 days


#10 posted 03-31-2014 06:37 PM

WOW Thats amazing you did such a great job from beat up ole wood to fine dinning. The story is cool too, I think it will add tons of value to the piece. Thanks for sharing

-- Wood and Glass they kick (well you know) Have a great day - Dug

View woodchuckerNJ's profile

woodchuckerNJ

1154 posts in 1097 days


#11 posted 03-31-2014 11:47 PM

very nice history lesson, it does add to the beauty of the wood, like knowing someone’s inner beauty…
Maybe you can put together a packet with the images of the distillery warehouse that is delivered with the table.

Very cool the way you left the rough saw marks.. You say you had air bubble problems, was that after starting with the epoxy? Was there a change in temperature?

-- Jeff NJ

View BOOM_TOWN's profile

BOOM_TOWN

19 posts in 1289 days


#12 posted 03-31-2014 11:54 PM

awesome story, great documentation, great table.

View Mean_Dean's profile

Mean_Dean

5049 posts in 2610 days


#13 posted 04-01-2014 12:30 AM

I’m all for saving these historic old buildings. But if they can’t be saved, then I’m really glad that people like you are preserving the history of them by making furniture like your table. The plaques are a lovely way to help explain the history to whomever ends up owning the furniture.

Nice work!

-- Dean

View BentheViking's profile

BentheViking

1763 posts in 2027 days


#14 posted 04-01-2014 04:34 PM

gorgeous in so many ways

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

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