Handcrafted Oak – Design Brief
Our challenge was to create a special handcrafted Oak table and benches. We needed to make a design statement that would complete our customer’s newly landscaped garden in Windsor. The table needed to be large and robust enough for outdoor gatherings, as well as being a sculptural, elegant one-of-a-kind piece. The table and benches would be the main focal point in their garden.
Back at our workshop in Devon we set to work. Fortunately we had already acquired an old Oak root, which showed some potential of burrs. It was a rough piece to start with, but we knew it would be perfect. The Oak root piece originally came from a local woodland in Devon.
Shaping the Oak Burr
After much deliberation we decided that rather than keeping the piece intact it would be far better to saw open the Oak burr.
Grit Blasting and Sanding
To begin with we did some shaping with wood carving tools and planed the two cut faces. To keep the natural shape on the outside we needed a different solution. Our preferred choice was grit blasting, so we took the two table pieces to a specialist. They were able to remove all the loose and decayed sapwood for us.
Afterwards we made some final alterations of the dimensions in order to accommodate the size of glass tabletop. Finally, we sanded the two supports using a fine grit sand paper and applied finish to further bring out the grain and protect the timber. We were very pleased with how impressive the table supports looked.
To finish off we selected a piece of waney edged Oak to join the two table supports together. Special toughened glass was ordered for the top of the table. This was so the burred Oak could be seen, as well as the mosaic floor on which the table would eventually sit on.
Hand Carved Oak Benches
To accompany the table we were asked to make four benches that would link the contemporary table with a rustic Sweet Chestnut pergola that would surround it.
We used traditional tools to hand carve each Oak bench top and make them more comfortable to sit on.
We used cleft Oak for the legs to provide the link from the rustic form of the pergola with the cleaner lines of the table. Due to their uneven shape we used string lines to mark the tenons and then a hand tenon saw to cut them. After that we cut mortises into the underside of the benches. This would provide a strong joint between the cleft legs and the bench top. We made sure that the tenons on the legs were dry before fixing them into the bench. This was to avoid them shrinking and becoming loose later on.
Once finished we delivered the handcrafted Oak table and benches to Windsor. Our customer was very happy customer with our work.