Sep 26, 2011

Kitchen Reboot - 6, Let's Eat

The kitchen table was a tricky riddle to solve.

A narrow galley with little space to park it, even a small round or square slab would dominate and bring the cramps.  I picked at it for weeks, leaning into Google to find a solution.

World Market, Crate & Barrel, IKEA, Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, The Foundary, Classic Home, West Elm and Ebay. 

Even Kmart.  


The stuff was either shoddily constructed, overpriced, of obese dimensions or fugly.

Desired a gnarled farm-industrial cut.  1,200 bonus points for sheared iron nails and planks of tree scarred with saw marks from when it was milled 100 years ago.

Legs cut from ugly hunks of support beams.

In a tidy, rectangular package.

Oh, and a matching bench to free space.

Abandon the stores, build it.

West End Architectural Salvage stepped up to the challenge.  Sat down with the owner, Don Short, and walked through my thoughts.  I tore out a sheet and scribbled down notes, hand racing across the page on the brain dump, eager to transition from foggy idea to finished product.  He made a couple mods and tweaked it a bit until we had a winning design.

The table top was sourced of Douglas Fir from a late 1800s barn torn down a half hour from where I live.  The legs are brutish 6" x 6" beams that were pulled out of swampy river mire.  I requested they be left unfinished, other than a light sand and deburr.  They're nasty.  Perfect.

A lone craftsman cut, chiseled, banged and sanded.  In two days, the dirty barn boards were refined just enough to eat off of.  Then another week of sand/stain/sand repeats.  

Table and bench turned out just right.  And cost less than expected for handcrafted love.  Significantly fewer bones than many of the borish robo-cut tables I'd found online.   

Nikon tells it, go.

Dump creamer in a French Roast, sit down with Don at West End and design it:

Neglected beam graveyard.  Raw and untouched, bored by iron-jaw carpenter ants.  My table legs:

Planks punished by Mother Nature for a century.  Retired from farming and ready to be cleaned up for table duties:

The workshop.  Hand chisels, sanding planes and wood saws massage new life into abandoned boards:

Ridiculous number of wood types, legs and stain color combos are available.  Walking the shop, I spotted a dozen varieties of legs.  Cold steel plate or nickel offset the warm tops nicely:

Back at the ranch:



  1. I want to sit on that bench, raise my tankard of beer, and say OPA! to everyone who enters.

  2. Exactly what I am looking to put in my house!

  3. Wow. I don't even want to imagine what it would look like if I built something. Nice job (and Pigtails is stunning, btw)

  4. @Bruce, thanks, and you can borrow her for a couple days.

    @Erica, cheers!

    @Marci, go out and get it done.

    @Christina, wish I could say I built it, West End did all the work!

  5. The kitchen turned out fantastic and the table fit perfectly. Nice work and good choice on the wood, the old beams are awesome!

  6. Rachael10/21/2011

    I have tried like 47 times (okay, perhaps a small exaggeration) to post a comment here but it never takes. I will try one more time (because I feel lucky today). I love, love, love your entire kitchen and your table in particular. That sucker will last many lifetimes and perhaps one day you'll get to watch your grandkids spilling crap all over it.

  7. @Seth - Thanks bud, and I think that newborn boy of yours also turned out fantastic.

    @Rachael - Did you try rebooting first? ;-) Comments are probably blocked from corporate networks, should work fine from home or smartphone.

    I think the kitchen turned out nice, I need to get the rebuild thread on the blog finished up soon.

  8. Rachael10/22/2011

    I tried from home and from work but it just didn't happen. I think the updated software is helping. Now I can actually post whenever I feel like it. It's a whole new day!!

    Anyway, I didn't want you to think I'd stopped visiting. This is still one of my favorite sites.

  9. @Rachael - Thanks, sending you $19.95 in the mail now.

  10. Am I allowed to ask how much this was? We have a similar salvage place near our home in Vancouver, BC and we picked up some incredible cedar there for next to nothing. Now we have to find someone dandy (like your folks at West End) to mill it and finish it for us.... And thinking about budget.

    1. Charge was per square foot. Since I had a smaller table crafted, the price was reasonable. Table and bench were roughly $750 total.

  11. I somehow biffed a comment from Cedes, sorry about that and here it is:

    Reclaimed wood! *swoon* I'm sure there are places that would do something like this for me around here, although right now I don't have any room for a new piece of furniture. Maybe one day when I have a larger house. (Or decide to get rid of some of the hand me down furniture I can't seem to part with just yet)


Thanks for the note, check back for my response!