A driftwood lacquered dining table

driftwood_and_glass_dining _tableI’m frequently asked to create driftwood dining tables & it’s usually with the sun bleached silver gray patina. However, in the past couple of months I received  4 requests for driftwood dining tables with the lacquered finish.  I just finished the first for a lovely couple who live in Antioch, Tennessee who were kind enough to send me some images of it in their home. They had some definite ideas of what they had in mind so there were many emails back & forth including pictures of the raw driftwood stump before anything was trimmed.

Their main desire was to have a finished piece that was very full with some heavier type roots. They were pleased with the looks of this one, so now it was time to add all the necessary support limbs to ensure that the table footprint was extended enough to be stable & at the same time provide enough room for seating. In addition pieces were bolted to the top of the stump to support the heavy rectangle glass.

Now it was time for the part of the process I no longer do myself & that’s sandblast the entire table…a job that I do not miss, but really enjoy seeing the transformation once I get it back a few days later.

                                                                      All that’s left is the the lacquering which can be time consuming & tedious with all the many nooks & crannies that have to be hand brushed.

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Finally, with help from my son the table is placed in a custom heavy duty crate & the next day is on it’s way north. I always hope to hear from my customers once their piece arrives & hopefully receive some images in it’s new home.These folks were kind enough to do that along with a very gracious note which can be found on my review page.

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A “holy” driftwood coffee table

Although the red cedar stumps that I use for my driftwood coffee , dining & foyer tables are found very near the waters of Florida’s Gulf Coast, very seldom do I ever acquire a piece that had actually been in the water for an extended period of time. Especially a driftwood root system that had the right size & shape to make a nice table base. The result of being in the water is a stump that is literally riddled with ship worm holes & that can make for a very unique & interesting driftwood coffee table. The great thing about this one was the added bonus of having some extended limbs that were also holy that I could trim off & use for my necessary support pieces.

Ship worms are not actually worms but marine bivalve molluscs, a group of saltwater clams with long, soft, naked bodies. They are notorious for boring into (and eventually destroying) wood that is immersed in sea water, including such structures as wooden piers, docks and ships; they drill passages by means of a pair of very small shells borne at one end, with which they rasp their way through. Sometimes called “termites of the sea”, they are relentless in their pursuit of somewhere to make their home. In the past they have created a tremendous of damage to wooden hulled ships weakening their structure & making them more susceptible to sinking in a storm or battle. This led to covering the hulls with copper & was even mentioned in a poem by Henry David Thoreau:

The vessel, though her masts be firm,

Beneath her copper bears a worm …

Far from New England’s blustering shore,

New England’s worm her hulk shall bore,

And sink her in the Indian seas …

(excerpted from “Though all the Fates” 1849)

For many this worm is a curse, but for my purposes it is a treasure as these holes are thorough but shallow, thus not weakening the integrity of the table in the least. Although I have a few individual wormy pieces that are part of the collection that I rent for wedding center pieces & are the most requested, this base is only the second one I’ve created in my decades of building driftwood furniture.

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Below are the images of this table base as it progresses to the point where it now (06/26/2017) sits in my showroom with a 30″ x 54″ racetrack oval glass resting on its surface.

 

 

 

 

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Posted in driftwood & glass tables, driftwood base, driftwood table base, Glass Top Tables, sandblasted coffee tables

Our final port of call-Ketchikan

DSC_3245_tonemappedIt’s time I conclude the final post on our May trip while I can still remember the details. With the continual creating & shipping of my driftwood furniture the keeping up with my journalism endeavors has been sorely neglected. DSC_3247_tonemappedOur final stop before heading back to Vancouver & then home was to the port city of Ketchikan, the southernmost city in Alaska. The excursion that we chose to go on was the spectacular Misty Fjords National Monument, lying just 22 miles east of Ketchikan & is a natural mosaic of sea cliffs, steep fjords and rock walls jutting 3000 ft straight out of the ocean. Extending 2.3 million acres across Tongass National Forest, Misty Fjords is the largest wilderness in Alaska’s national forests and the second largest in the nation.

DSC_3258_tonemappedThere’s 2 ways to experience the beauty of this wilderness-by seaplane or by boat. After reading about a tragic plane accident that took the lives of some Holland America passengers last year, we decided the boat ride was the way we wanted to go.DSC_3390The air was chilly, the skies were crystal clear & the views were breathtaking, including the chance encounter with a small pod of orcas or killer whales. DSC_3328

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For the next couple of hours it was just the wonder of soaking in the splendor of this landscape.DSC_3518_19_20_fused

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DSC_3531A few seals just catching some sun as we all scrambled to take their pictures.

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DSC_3578_tonemappedFinally back to our floating home for the week to board & enjoy one more night before returning to Orlando. A truly remarkable & memorable time to spend with my family & to appreciate the beauty of God’s creation.

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Our Alaskan cruise-Glacier Bay

DSC_2842_tonemappedIn preparing to go on our cruise, I researched & became familiar with what to look forward to on our excursions into Juneau, Skagway & Ketchikan. What I didn’t anticipate was what turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip….our daylong venture into Glacier Bay National Park. As late as the 1700’s the whole of Glacier Bay was choked with ice but by 1879 had retreated almost all the way up the bay, a distance of 48 miles. What was carved out was deep sheltered fjords which has become the highlight of Alaska’s Inside Passage & allows large cruise ships to give it’s passengers a spectacular view of the landscape. Due to the day being so crisp & clear we were able to sit on our balcony & absorb as much as possible.DSC_3196_7_8_fused

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DSC_2994_tonemappedAn adventure boat preparing their guests to kayak for a more intimate view of their surroundings….I was a bit envious of that one.

DSC_2931_tonemappedFinally we approached the end of the bay & for an hour the captain slowly rotated the ship so everyone could take in Margerie Glacier from the comfort of their own balcony.DSC_2842_tonemapped

Margerie Glacier is categorized as a tidewater glacier, one of eleven remaining in the park, with eight in the bay and three on the Pacific Ocean coastal area of the park. A tidewater glacier is one whose terminus encounters seawater at least at high tide, if not at all tide levels. Margerie Glacier and six other glaciers have termini that are fully submerged at all tide levels. It  has a total height of 350 feet of which 250 feet rises above the water level and 100 feet  is beneath the water surface. Like many glaciers it contains moraines which appear as dark areas composed of dirt, stones and larger rocks mixed in with the ice and transported downstream to eventually be ejected from the glacier’s terminus. The glacial ice appears blue as a result of the absorption of red, orange, yellow and green wavelengths of light and, consequently, pools of meltwater on top of the glacier will appear bright blue. It is also one of the most active glaciers for ice calving.  As a glacier calves it makes sounds similar to gunshots from the cracking of the ice and the release of trapped air, then a roaring boom as the ice tumbles down into the sea. The locals refer to this as “white thunder”.DSC_2858

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DSC_2873_tonemappedOne of the lenses for my Nikon is a 150-600mm which is quite heavy to handhold & obtain clear focused images but mounted on a tripod it was ideal for capturing a burst of large sections of ice breaking away from the glacier & splashing into the sea.DSC_3011Resting on the ground was one very large blue ice cube.

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DSC_3165_tonemappedLeaving the bay was a great time for Nikki to enjoy an ice cream cone while I just wanted to kick back & appreciate all that we just had witnessed.

 

Our next & last stop before heading back to Vancouver…..Ketchikan & Misty Fjords National Monument.

 

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Our Alaskan cruise-Skagway

DSC_2587_tonemappedSkagway is a small Alaskan town but is a very popular destination for the cruise ship industry as more than 400 dock there yearly. It’s also home to the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad. The railroad was completed in 1900 during the Klondike gold rush days & was the primary means of reaching the goldfields. It climbs 20 miles up 3,000′ of elevation & offers some spectacular views while riding in old vintage rail cars. In between the cars were the platforms that you see in the old western movies & that’s where I perched for the entire trip. It got a bit chilly but it was worth it to capture the scenery as the train slowly made the climb to the top & then back down.

DSC_2599It was a short walk to hop on as the train was parked right outside our balcony.DSC_2250_tonemapped

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DSC_2393_tonemappedAs we approached this old wooden trestle bridge I was a little nervous that we were going over it until I realized it has been abandoned & is now in disrepair.DSC_2418_tonemappedThe top was blanketed in snow, the skies were bright blue & the cool crisp air was magnificent. DSC_2508_tonemapped

DSC_2513A few other souls ventured out on the platforms to take pictures but most of the time I just had to share the small space with Nick.

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DSC_2608_tonemappedBack on board & still taking in the beautiful landscape.

DSC_2641The excursion up this historic pass was a highlight & would definitely recommend it, especially if photography was a passion.

Next up was a slow cruise into Glacier Bay.

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