Over the last couple of months Phil has been honing his furniture-making skills, and has completed two really beautiful oak pieces: a coffee table and a custom-made kitchen table to replace the garden table we've been temporarily borrowing from my parents. What's amazing is that this talent has remained hidden all this time, and now that it's coming out there seems to be no stopping it - maybe now I can finally retire, ha ha!
Phil has been really inspired by our South African friends at Sylvantutch (based at the Craft Centre in Corris - north of Machynlleth), who make really beautiful rustic furniture in a way which really brings out the best in the natural, organic forms of the pieces they work with. The coffee table was Phil's first effort, and it has a really nice solidity and chunkiness. The only issue with it is that the top surface is slightly contoured, so you have to be careful with your glass of wine (or use a mug!) - what could be more rustic? :D The oak itself was sourced from our field boundaries, being mostly old oak fence posts which are no longer used to support the fence. Phil spent a good deal of time looking for appropriate posts whilst going on walks with the cats, and then sanding them to miraculously turn these ugly rotting stumps into beautifully smooth, shimmering rods of gold... But, no, they really are lovely.
The kitchen table took a couple of days, and has fence post legs (some with their fencing staples still embedded!) and a surface of restored oak planks which we bought from North Shropshire Reclamation, just north of Shrewsbury. The planks looked pretty sad when we found them, they were all grey and splintery, with no sign of any promise. But at £10 each, and ten foot long, we figured that six or seven would make a reasonable table top, and so they have - look at this radiant, characterful finish! So we got to give the garden table back, and everyone's happy.
Yes, as getting about becomes more and more uncomfortable, I suppose the least I can do is blog about what my physically unencumbered man is doing... I may not be doing as much, but I can still observe and comment on what I see...!