Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Phil's Furniture

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...!


  1. Those pieces are SO beautiful. I am literally swooning and trying not to look, out the corner of my eye, at my raggedy old chipped and stained kitchen table. Good work Phil! x

  2. bravo to phil and his excellent table making skills! im so glad someone else knows about North Shropshire reclamation, i grew up near them and my parents house and garden is full of stuff from them :D yayy for recycling stuff! how is squiggles coming along? xxx

  3. Fantastic tables :) They're absolutely beautiful - the rusticness of the coffee table is particularly lovely.

    We have some pieces that we made in our house - our television unit, and two book cases; not made from reclaimed materials though, sadly :( Still proud of them though. Wood working is lovely, and you've reminded me that I'd like to do some more. I have some carving tools buried in the shed somewhere, and some lovely logs that our neighbour gave us - I could whittle something!

  4. Good grief, as if your blog wasn't idyllic enough already;-) I'm hoping to build a fabulous huge table when we get our co-op house, and these two make fabulously inspiring examples. Well done Phil! xxx

  5. Hi Phil, I work in a diy store and I get inspiration to start making things out of timber latest project is to build a garden table like the one you have on here but I'm just curious of how you've put yours together and wondering if I can adapt mine to be as good as yours.

    I've got in idea decking boards, deck posts and treated c16 timber for the frame work.

    Is there anyway of you showing me the frame under neither the table top to see how you've made yours so sturdy and solid

    Regards simon.

  6. I have already saved some DIY outdoor furniture plans on Pinterest and I am headed to Garden Ridge and Homegoods today to see if I can get some good deals.
    Demir Leather