Monday, May 29, 2017

Reclaimed Cypress Tables #2

I just looked at my first blog on creating stump tables from river reclaimed cypress. It was 4 YEARS ago. No, must be a typo. Have I been at this thing that long? Guess so!! I have survived with no crushed toes, cut off fingers, my hand arthritis is still there but a martini at night helps, made a few bucks, and believe I have made people happy by incorporating my creations into their homes.

The evolution of my work has been interesting and fun. Every piece of cypress turns out differently in color and grain. Here is a stump that has over 800 life rings. When recovered it was covered with 150 years of silt and scum. But, when cleaned and sanded it turned into a great reddish brown, showing all its rings. It seems like the older a log, the more color it has. I have proven my son Eric wrong when, upon asking him for ideas on the piece, said I need to cut it up for firewood. No imagination my little 45 year old son.

Sections from a 800 year old river reclaimed cypress. Before the fun started.

First cypress table from the rough sections

Second cypress table from the rough sections.

Here are four side tables from the same log with over 300 life rings. They do not have the color the 800 year old ones have, but they are still cool. The colors really come out with more coats of clear finish. I usually do 4 coats, with sanding in between.

I had a couple of logs that fell apart and I cut them into smaller pieces. Check the various colors from 2 separate logs. OK, but what should I do with them? Tried getting my interior designer daughter to incorporate them into some of her beach decors. There was a polite, no thank you. What do I know? Met a glass blower artist at an art fair recently. She might try and incorporate glass elements into the voids. Guess this applies to the saying - take the blinders off. You never know when something cool might evolve.

These are cut from the above rough sections.

Recently I had a log that was totally hollow, but solid on the outside. It was filled with silt and had interesting voids. Amazing what a power washer and a Dremel tool can do to open up the beauty of a log that had been submerged since the 1800s. I was very happy to place it with friends for their new house.

I am going to vary my log comments for a minute to talk about other uses for logs. My friend Cara recently had to cut down a lovely, old white pine. She has an old farm house and thought she could salvage boards from the pine for her floor. Here is the result before and after finishing. What a great use of old, beautiful trees, rather then shoving them into a landfill. GREAT job Cara.

One last tidbit on trees. Our community recently removed some magnolias that had become overgrown and a nuisance. Here is an end cut of the base of one of the trees. It shows the growth life rings and how fast a tree grows in this Florida climate. There are 2-3 rings per inch. My reclaimed, original growth cypress logs have 25-30 rings per inch. Each ring is a year of the tree's growth. This slow growth of original timber produces beautifully grained and tight wood.

Well, I have finished my Starbucks coffee and am off to find some new stumps/logs. Or to finish sanding some of my current stock. Often the "search" turns out to be more fun than standing over a table with my orbital sander. Remember, never pass up the opportunity to put that strange looking log into your truck. It might be a treasure, or just a bunch of bug infested fire wood.

Take Care
Spring is here. Watch out for critters in the woods.
Margaritas are wonderful this time of year.
Protest the WH and Trump against destroying our national wildernesses and parks.
Never trust a Swede with a chain saw.

John "Gabby" Gabrielson