Thirty Days

I’m one weekend in to a month-long sabbatical, and catching up on my blog is one of a few goals I have for my time. Over the course of the month, I’ll spend a week with my local Habitat for Humanity, followed by three weeks of woodworking.

The main project I’ll focus on is a dining room table. I fell in love with Sidney Barnsley’s Hay Rake table. I love the honesty of the construction and materials. There is no pretension in the design, no game being played; just an homage to honest work and work’s reward. It seemed the perfect use for the swamp white oak I harvested in the summer of 2008.

In the interest of time, I’ll be taking cues from Don Weber’s rendition, published in the February 2009 issue of Popular Woodworking. The design is available on the magazine’s website.

I’ll deviate somewhat from the plan by making the table about 20″ longer than the one Weber built. The extra length will make optimal use of the space in our dining room without overwhelming it. And that is the beauty of a custom-made piece. You get a piece that will last a lifetime without wearing out its welcome.

To get to this point, I’ve been busily finishing up old projects, tidying up and rearranging to find a better flow. My back saws are tuned up, my workbench is finally complete, and I’m no longer tripping over redundant tools. I’ll take some time this week to make some final preparations, and then we’re off to the races.

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