One of the enjoyable aspects for the team working at Langley Furniture is that almost every project is different. All our work is custom made to order based on our clients requirements and direction. Occasionally a job comes in that is a little different, such as the very unique waney edge table made recently for a home near Bolam.
"The table is a very unusual piece, not all of our customers have the physical space nor the artistic confidence to run with something quite this wild. They came in wanting a dining table, but with an open mind as to exactly what it would look like. We have a lot of timber drying in our stacks here at the workshop and I think the rawness of those unfinished boards must have rubber off on them. We had a series of long conversations about size, shape, and species. They mulled it over and eventually decided on elm."
Part of the decision making process was for the customers to actually see and feel the elm boards that would be used to make the table, an enjoyable experience that instils confidence in the end product.
One of the challenges was the size of the table, it needed to be able to seat up to 12 people so it was decided to extend the width to increase its size. Traditionally this would have meant creating straight edged lengths out of the original boards that could simply be glued together. In this case however, it was important to keep the character of the boards so not only were the edges left ‘waney' with simply the bark taken off, but the centre required an elliptical piece to be inserted which allowed us to keep as much of the original character as possible.
"Often the challenge with one-off table tops is in designing an undercarriage that feels right, providing adequate strength but not competing for attention. It needs to look beefy enough to carry the top and be interesting enough to act as a foil because something this dramatic and waney needs a bold undercarriage."
The table top was finished with five coats of durable oil and where required, a small amount of wax was added to fill any small pippy cavities preventing any accumulation of dirt. Even though the elm had been kiln dried, it would be expected to move a little as it settles into the atmospheric conditions of it's new home as well as the gradual swelling and contracting over the seasons. All the joinery used was designed to allow for this movement.
"The unique elm boards all came from the same Northumbrian tree, allowing the cruck to be displayed to it's full beauty. The finished piece is an extraordinary statement of ‘tree' right inside their house."