Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Using Spare Time During Lockdown

April 2020.
Last summer I got my brother Joe to cut a slice of wood from an oak tree taken from  my Dad's farm in Ballingate, Co Wicklow (where I grew up). The plan was to turn this into a coffee table for my daughter Vicki. I had never done anything like this before. The photo to the right was taken today, while the one below was taken 9 months ago in July last summer. During the fine summer holidays I spent quite a bit of time sanding it down. The timber was not completely dry, so I left in in a dry place - this caused it to crack and warp slightly. I stopped the warping by putting lead weights on top - and left it like this for most of the winter.

Throughout the winter I watched loads of YouTube videos on how to deal with cracks - there are literally hundreds showing you how to fill them with resin, which is what I ended up doing. I had to learn how to mix and pour resin - but I made quite a mess doing this (it leaked everywhere). Once it hardened it was back to sanding - lots of it. These past few weeks I was able to use my Covid-19 extended spare time to do this. Eventually yesterday I was satisfied and I painted it with Danish Oak Oil to shine it up a bit. Then I added legs (taken from another table), and et voila!

The location where the 100+ year old oak tree was felled was once part of the Coollattin Estate. Oaks from this estate were famous - it was the last native oak forest in Ireland. The estate supplied oak for the English fleet, the Stadt House in Amsterdam, Westminster Hall, Trinity College, and St Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin (see: A wonder of nature in Wicklow). I have taken many acorns from the ground near this tree and planted them successfully to replace trees like this we have felled. I am quietly pleased with myself and am happy with the result. The only problem now is that I can't travel to get more timber!
    July 2019.

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