A Boat on the Side

Free Range Furniture

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Tamborine Mountain Brewery

Long Road, Eagle Heights, Tamborine Mountain

13-15 July

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Cutting a Dash

I’ve done some pretty unusual jobs in my time, but this one was quite unexpected. A local wedding car businessman wafted into the yard with a gleaming black Bentley Mulsanne. The dashboard had de-laminated and was looking a bit sad – could I re-veneer and re-polish? Yes I could, I’ve done a bit of antique restoration work and while the thought of working on automotive royalty was a bit daunting, I set to work.

But first, in the privacy of my own bathroom later that evening, I practised some forelock touching and general bowing and scraping. I’ve got form on this – way back in the seventies I was fitting out a hotel in Doha when a panicked diplomatic person from the British Embassy asked me if I could urgently build a full-length hinged mirror for Her Majesty’s imminent arrival. The embassy people hadn’t read their instructions properly and while Phillip could make do with a hand-held mirror, the Queen could not. I worked night and day for a few days and delivered the job, jolly well done I might add, to the Britannic premises. With a flourish, I presented my exorbitant bill and departed hastily with a hot regal cheque in my hands. Days later I was duly summoned to the opening of a new English school where I had the pleasure of meeting the Queen and the Prince, I have to say they were charming and unpretentious. I momentarily thought of inviting them back to my hotel room for a few brandies but thought the better of it as I had to do some overtime that night.

So working on the (almost) Rolls Royce brought back some fond memories.

The dashboard was actually quite tricky, requiring sanding back, repairing de-laminated bits, veneering twice in burr walnut and painstakingly sanding, arrising and spraying (all twelve coats.) Finally I cut it back carefully with 2000-grit wet-and-dry and polished with 3M Imperial Compound. None of your ordinary compound on this job.

Here’s a photo and it was surprisingly difficult to show the richness of the walnut and the mirror finish of the lacquer but it will have to do. I must admit that it wasn’t 100% as good as the Rolls craftsmen could achieve, but close enough.


Wild New Furniture

Twenty or more years ago I was quite well known as a cabinetmaker and I recently re-visited that era and made a few pieces as gifts. They caught on and neighbours ordered some oak tables and benches and we sold a few more in a local outlets.

Encouraged, I designed and built a couple of coffee tables and a couple of wild cedar plant stands. I enjoyed doing the plant stands – I sought to create a rather alien other worldly piece with a sort of 1930s move set look.

It was great fun and the first one is now on display (by appointment) at our yard. It’s lacquered and waxed and not really compatible with the everyday industriousness at the yard, so give us some warning and we’ll bring it in for you.

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More Oak Furniture

This table and bench already sold but we thought you’d like to see a photo anyway. When our customer has finished varnishing, we’ll post some more photos.

Meanwhile give us a call or email if you’d like something similar.

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Scruffie Days Landlocked!

Outdoor English Oak Furniture

Three or four years ago we saved a truck load of locally grown English Oak logs destined for firewood. We got in a contractor with a Lucas Mill and stacked it up to season. We sprayed it for borers and waited.

Since then we’ve had no requests to trim boats with it which is a pity but it is heavy and hard. There’s some wild and wonderful grain patterns and shapes though – a lot of it was twisted and gnarled. Some benign fungi had given it streaks of grey-yellow and dark brown so it’s excellent for feature panels in THE NEW BOOKCASE (photos soon!) But there’s an awful lot of it in the yard and big quantities of small misshapen chunks. So for Christmas I built a garden bench for Annette – not that she has much time to sit in the garden but in a year or two  . . . .

The bench was a success and a passerby walking her dog remarked that it looked lovely and can she have one please? I made up two more which meant more of the good oak went to a good garden and the timber stocks shrank a bit. Business as usual, however, gets in the way of such fanciful pursuits and boat work is beginning to build up again. It was nice to do them though – 50 x 50mm epoxied tenons, stainless steel roof batten screws and all, they’ll outlast me! It’s unlikely we’ll be doing too many more but I’ve cut out enough timber for a refectory table and done some balustrade rails for the house. Bullet-proof, flood-proof, oak-of-ages furniture.

P.S. In the end our dog walking neighbour not only bought a bench seat, she ordered the table (bad luck Annette) and second bench seat to match!

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