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.
A mere splinter of a once-towering tree, the base for this Douglas Fir and Bigleaf Maple coffee table is a remnant of "Doug ". Doug was a 420 year old, 6'+ diameter slab of salvaged Douglas Fir that had traveled more than 30,000 miles as part of the Ancient Forest Roadshow. Doug met thousands of people along its journey and was a tangible reminder of the threats to the last remaining ancient forests. This coffee table was auctioned at the 9th Annual Wonderland Auction to benefit Cascadia Wildlands.
It may have taken more than four centuries to grow, but after only a few years traveling on a trailer for the roadshow, the massive slab had begun to show the wear of being exposed to the elements. When I first heard Doug was to be decommissioned, I had a grand vision of making a meeting table of the massive slab. As we began to remove it from the trailer it quickly became clear that the slab would not hold together, and we focused on salvaging the most sound sections. These pieces were quite hefty, although their mass did not translate into strength, and I worried if I milled them too thin that they would further fall apart. For the coffee table, I used the fraction of Doug as the base and incorporated a slab of big leaf maple, keyed into the face.