My second commission – part 1


It might be a bit of a stretch, but it makes me feel good to call this a commission. My only other commission (which really was a proper one) was back in 2001 when a friend of mine wanted a top for his bar and I needed money to fund a move to New Zealand.

You might remember how I came into possession of this pile of exceptional Scott’s Pine, by agreeing to build a table for the former owner (and personal friend) and get to keep the rest of the wood. Well, the plan has mutated on several occasions since then. We started off with the idea of building two trestle type structures with an unattached top simply sitting on them.


I started by getting my team of boisterous apprentices to clean up the reclaimed wood. After that I took out all the nails and other foreign objects.


After a long day of sawing the beams into pieces of the appropriate length by hand, we (my friend Anton and I) had another chat about the design in the shop. We used the actual cut pieces to get an idea of what the structure would look like. We realised that, for the intended function we might be better off using some of the timber in my Knysna Forest collection.


I forwarded some pictures of Nakashima style tops to him the following week via e-mail and he liked it. For the legs we first considered a very elegant design I found in a document on Danish modern furniture, as it reminded of the trestle idea we started off with.

The next step was for Anton to come and look for appropriate boards that would fit the bill. Unfortunately they have been going through a tough time with a father in hospital after MVA. That meant that we did not manage to pick out the timber until this weekend.


All the wood in this collection was dried naturally after being sawn into planks between 2000-2004 (several batches that was bought back then). In other words it has been matured over 10-15 years of which the past 4 was spent in the very dry Windhoek climate.


As per usual, my apprentices were integral to this activity.


We decided on Kershout (Pterocelastrus tricuspdatus) for the top with Nakashima style Witpeer (Apodytes dimidiata) keys to stabilise cracks. I have not built a Nakashima-esque top before, so it is a tad stressful to think that it might go wrong at some stage.

In the picture below you can see how we stored the chosen boards to acclimatise to the shop environment.