Defiance Board
This board was removed from the bathroom of the oldest house in Chittenden County. It will be used to make a beautiful dining table.
Monday, September 23, 2013

Defiance Boards - From Bathroom Floor to Gorgeous Table - Part 1

The project I have just completed has a fun story behind it. As I shared in the latest newsletter, my friends and neighbors, Nicole and Sean, discovered "Defiance Boards" had been used as the floorboards in their old bathroom. Back in the 1700's, certain wooden boards were hidden in places like floors because they had been illegally cut down by Vermonters -they did not want the British using them for the masts of their ships. When Nicole and Sean discovered they were in posession of something so special, they asked me to transform the boards in to a new dining table for them. The ironic fact that I am British but have just become a US citizen was not lost on any of us!

It was necessary to prepare the boards while maintaining their original character. First, I had to mark lines on the boards to see how much yield there was - could I make a 96" x 42" table? Only 78" of straight, clean board existed, so we discussed what to do and decided to put bread-boards on each table end. I then stripped all of the old finish.

I had to "square" the 3 main pieces which was not an easy process, as there were old nails hidden in the boards and I didn't want to ruin the blades of my saw! Next, I sanded the surface being careful to maintain the character of each board. Before glueing and clamping the 3 main boards, I tenoned the edges to help align the irregular surfaces.

More in the next blog...

The boards were not in great shape
Fitting tenons prior to glue-up
2 boards prepared for glueing and clamping
Farmhouse End-Leaf Table and Chalford Chairs
Sandra and Jorg’s Farmhouse End-Leaf Table with Chalford Dining Chairs
Tuesday, September 3, 2013

It Was Meant To Be!

I’ve recently had the pleasure of completing a dining room set and bar stools for a couple who live in Germany and who also have a summer home on Lake Champlain. I'd like to share with you this wonderful story of serendipity...

A few years ago, Sandra and Jorg came in to my Stowe Cotswold Furniture Gallery and we talked for quite some time about the furniture. They were in the process of buying a lake property which would need major renovations. Sandra put my business card in her wallet and there it stayed. During that time, my family and I moved, I closed down my retail galleries, downsized the business and simplified my life.

A year ago last summer, I built my workshop on our new property. During that time, Sandra and Jorg were in the middle of their lake house restoration. One evening they were invited to have dinner with some friends in Hinesburg. They noticed a structure being built next door to their friends’ home and asked what was going on next door. Our neighbor and friends, Nicole and Sean, told them all about me and my furniture making business that would be housed in the new barn.

They were intrigued, but said that they had been to a furniture maker in Stowe the year before and they really wanted their new furniture to be made by him. Then Sandra took out her wallet, pulled out a business card, showed it to Nicole, and said, “This is who we want to make the furniture for our new dining room.” Nicole couldn't believe it when she looked at the card and saw my name!

I cannot tell you what an honor it has been for me to make the Chalford Farmhouse Table, Chalford chairs and bar stools for Sandra and Jorg. The fact that they loved my furniture enough to hold on to that card for so long, in the hopes of having me make their dining room set one day, is one of the greatest compliments to my work that I have ever experienced.

Sandra, Jorg and friends enjoying their new dining furniture
Farmhouse Dining Table in Cherry
Farmhouse Server in Cherry