Monday, April 29, 2013

Creating Tables from Reclaimed Cypress

Once I started making the stump tables, I thought making larger tables would be fun and might have a market. I looked around at Bruner Lumber and found some very unique pieces of deadhead cypress. Often this cypress has been partially eaten away by fungus prior to harvesting the timber 120 years ago. It cannot be milled into useable lumber, other then the pecky cypress variety. So, I started buying this reclaimed cypress and making cocktail and side tables. Some finished pieces never made to market, due to Ki and Lisa saying "I want this for my house." Now our house looks like a forest and I can sell the pieces, unless they end up as trade ins.

Here are some of my deadhead cypress tables. Enjoy.

Here are the original cypress pieces, straight from the river.
                                                                                                       And here are the finished pieces.

Another set of cypress tables. These pieces came from the same log. It is a lower 13".

This was designed to sell as an upright 14" high cocktail table. It turned out to be too low for many people. So, at the Scott's Antique Market in Atlanta, I took the glass off and turned it on its side. The hole was horizontal with a flat top surface. It sold right away to a woman for a side table beside her antique bathtub. Who knows.

Here are cypress side tables in a natural finish with 1/2" glass top. They have been heavily eaten away by fungus, but still have enough body to support the glass and accessories, or even a drink or two. They are 9x9x24. These are the remnants of milling a log that is 2-3' in diameter.

And here is the side table in a dark finish with 1/2" glass. There is barely enough solid wood to support the table, but cypress is very strong.

This stump table is from a cypress log with 480 life rings. Plus 120 years under water makes this wonderful piece over 600 years old - starting growing around the early 1400s.

Or the table can be without the glass.

Four tables ready to go to market. Need to sell some, no more room in the garage and Ki wants her car inside. OK Ki.

Another way to use the large one in front, is to turn it on it's side for a coffee table. Don't try and use it as a stool, unless you weigh 50 lbs, but it will support good weight for a table. Also a good place for your pet to hide or make a bed.

Thought I would try a black lacquer look. Next one might be pink for Eric, he just loves pink.

Then Lisa and Ki suggested I do a table in grey tones. Can't argue with the bosses. It was sold to a person building a house in Rosemary Beach.

Then I picked up a birch stump at Jim's cabin to try my luck at making a table. Made two and the people of Atlanta liked them. Guess I need to do more. Maybe I can write off the expense of a MN fishing trip, and find some birch stumps.

Now, what do you think I have here in front? Mary was working with Betsy in trying to find a small stool for around a cocktail table. I had this finished piece and was wondering what to do with it. Well, it was turned on its side - and wa lah we have a stool. Now I am looking for another piece for a second stool for her.

This table needed a glass top. The piece is totally hollow. Another of Mother Nature's wonders. 

Here is my favorite. I started out with four square pecky cypress pieces from Bruner's. Planned to four separate tables, but when I started cleaning and finishing them, they were much more eaten away then I thought. Each one was too weak to be a separate table. So, I glued them together to make a four section table. Now, it is a perfect coffee table in our living room. Ki once again said "oh, that would look very nice in our house." What can I say. Looks good as shown below.
The original four peices. This is pure pecky cypress.

After cleaning and finishing. Now what to do?

The finished table, all glued together, ready for that lucky buyer.

And now the pecky table is a proud and happy resident of our living room, having been reclaimed from the junk yard or fire pit.

If you are ever tired of paying for that health club, I would recommend log cutting. In fact, I could use a helper. The pay isn't very good but the socializing is fabulous.

See you soon. Have a great day and year.

Remember, "Around each corner lies a new adventure."

John "Gabby" Gabrielson
Natural Creations
Miramar Beach, Florida

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Reclaimed Wood Stump Tables/Stools

My first "adventure" into creating home furnishings from reclaimed wood came be chance. I was unloading some landscape material into the Sandestin landscape dump and discovered a large pine log. I had seen photos in design magazines of stump tables and thought, I could make one. So, back to the dump with my chain saw, cut up the log, took it home and made it into table. Now what to do? I decided to let my daughter Lisa, an Atlanta interior designer, sell it in the Atlanta market. Surprise - they sold. Back to the dump I went, and found a large magnolia tree log. Cut this up, finished them, and sold them. I am in business I thought. Then I ran out of logs at the dump. In searching Northern Florida for alternative wood sources, I came across Bruner Lumber and their deadhead cypress. A love affair started between me and old cypress. Eventually my stump tables evolved into larger tables, stools, sculptures and home accessories. This blog will show my stump tables/stools. Enjoy.

Here are my first stump tables. They are pine with a natural finish. Great for tables or stools.

Here are 2 cypress and 2 magnolia tree stump tables/stools. All are around 18" high - good for a side table or a stool.

These two magnolia stumps were reclaimed from a landscape dump. Fun to see what "discarded" natural items can be made into.

This is a deadhead cypress stump table or stool. The log is probably over 300 years old and was reclaimed from a Florida river.

Well, here is old Gabby with one of his favorites in a natural finish. My head looks as shiny as the table top.

This old magnolia stump surprised me with how it turned out. The natural grey/brown and the grain really comes out with a natural finish.

This is a very old deadhead cypress log. It was found in the scrap yard of a sawmill. It has over 400 life rings. With it being in the river for 120 years, this historic log is over 500 years old.

Oops. This is not a stump table, unless you call me stumpy. Del and I and our grandkids had a great fishing day out of Destin Harbor in March. This is a sheepshead, and are they GOOD to eat.

Well, off to the saw mill to get more "treasures" to create. Take care.

John "Gabby" Gabrielson
Natural Creations
Miramar Beach, Florida

Friday, April 19, 2013

Welcome to Natural Creations Blog.

My Natural Creations blog is dedicated to the subject of reclaiming and recycling Nature's beautiful wood to form new and unique items for reuse. My main emphasis today is on creating unique home and commercial furnishings and sculptures with sinker/deadhead cypress. What is sinker/deadhead cypress? This is cypress that was originally harvested from swamps in the South during the period of 1850-1910. It is "original growth" wood that is hundreds of years old. Once harvested, the logs were transported to saw mills via rivers. Some logs would sink to the bottom of the rivers and remain there, covered with silt, until reclaimed by local divers over the past 20 years. Once reclaimed from the rivers and bayous the logs would be sold to saw mills for making beams, flooring and paneling. This is where I come in. I salvage the remnants from the milling process to create my items. Once finished, my items are truly a piece of Southern history, showing the life rings of centuries of growth. I hope by blogs will help you to enjoy the beauty of Nature's True Creations.

This deadhead cypress log was recovered from a northern Florida bayou in 2012. It is estimated to be well over 1000 years old. In order to transport this large log to the saw mill, it had to be loaded onto a heavy construction dump truck with a crane. It is so heavy, the original loading attempt onto a flatbed trailer blew all the tires. This beautiful cypress log will be reclaimed by milling it into large slabs for table and desk tops.

The original cypress harvest of the old growth forests occurred from the mid 1880s to the early 1900s in the swamp areas of the deep South. Transportation of the cut timber to saw mills was difficult in those days, so the rivers were the primary "road." Along the way, some sank and are today known as deadhead or sinker cypress. Here is a photo from the 1800s showing the shipping process.

One of the major suppliers of beautiful old growth milled cypress is Bruner Lumber. These photos show their mill and logs recently pulled from the rivers.

One of numerous mill structures. Due to the warm climate, drying of the cut lumber can occur in open roofed enclosures.

Deadhead cypress logs recently reclaimed from the rivers and bayous.

 New "old" logs just delivered from the river divers.

What a beautiful deadhead cypress log. Not me. Often, these larger logs are milled into single slabs that can be used for tables or desks. The colors and grains are fantastic. This log is probably close to 600 years old.

And these are my "helpers." What a crew, except they are much to old for this type of work. 

Welcome to my Natural Creations blog. I hope you will appreciate the beauty of nature and participate in reclaiming her "treasurers."

John "Gabby" Gabrielson
Natural Creations
Miramar Beach, Florida