After making the trip with me to pick out lumber for the table, the clients (recent retirees from the mid-west) remarked that Portlandia has more of a basis in reality than they realized. The book-matched western walnut pieces in the table top came from a farm near Peoria, and the western maple centerpiece from the eastern Coast Range. They joked, "can we visit where the tree grew"...was it a joke?...yes, it was a joke. We had been looking for something else for the table top; but then Clifford (http://curlyburlymilling.com/) showed us the book-matched sets of western walnut and they immediately knew it was right. By itself, the walnut set was too narrow for a dining table; and, the western maple centerpiece was a graceful way to incorporate the walnut into a larger top and preserved the book-matched effect. The trestle style base gives lightness to the large table (7'+ long) and complements the open, modern feel of the home.
Dining room table and chair set made from ponderosa pine accented with black walnut. The live-edged table top is a single slab, approximately 42" wide; and its 250+ pounds is supported by a variation of a trestle style base, joined to the top by dovetail grooves that allow the top to freely shrink and swell. The chairs are upholstered in leather, and a book matched pine panel accents each chair back.
The slab was milled from a 280+ year old ponderosa on the edge of the Middle Fork Willamette River valley. The big ponderosa pine forests in Oregon are found mainly on the dry side of the Cascade Range at relatively high elevation; but known locally as valley pine (or more officially pacific ponderosa pine), this subspecies grows at low elevation along the margins of the valley and is well adapted to the areas mild winters and seasonally soggy clay-rich soils. This particular tree came down in a wind storm in 2009, and the property owner was a friend of the client and had milled the tree by chainsaw. No small feat for a tree of that size.
Pine is generally soft, and ponderosa is no different; although, because it is old growth and is made of hundreds of growth rings tightly stacked together, it is significantly harder than the plantation grown pine found at the home improvement store. It may not be ideal for a heavy use table top, but given the uniqueness of the wood and the clients connection to the property and owner, that limitation was easily accepted.
Besides making a fine macchiato, Vero Coffee is a friendly neighborhood espresso house with great outdoor seating and an eclectic mix of tables and chairs throughout the converted Victorian era house. Sunny, the owner, was looking for a large table to place at the end of the main room, and she liked the idea of somehow working a concrete panel into the table to function as a trivet.
There is a distinctive "V" in the Vero logo, and we decided on a white "V" set in a rich red-brown concrete rectangle. I first poured the "V" in a simple plywood form covered with packing tape and used a mixture of quartzite pea gravel, dolomite sand, and white cement plus a little color; but even the tiny amount of yellow added to the mix yielded a too off-white color. The second pour omitted the color; and combination of the white cement with the white-opaque sand and gravel yielded a warm white "V" that contrast nicely when set against the surrounding red-brown. The base of the table was a simple farmhouse table design made using reclaimed old-growth Douglas Fir lumber from Bring Recycling and was painted to match the background color of the logo. For the top, I found some two-inch thick chinquapin from Curly Burly in Cottage Grove that was almost entirely knot free (surprising, for chinquapin).
Stop by 205 East 14th Avenue and check out the table with your favorite caffeinated beverage!