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Copper Table Base

James Worsham

There's nothing better than when a client gives me a blank canvas. Give me a single idea, and let me run with it, and I guarantee you'll have something incredible. That's why I was so excited when a good friend of mine said she wanted a table. She was open for almost anything, as long as it looked good and had a story to it. My specialty. 

As a rule of thumb with any tabula rasa project, I always start with my materials. As many of you know, I'm a materials buff. I prefer a mix of old/reclaimed with new/modern. I instantly thought about a stock of wood that I was holding onto for a special occasion. Reclaimed heart of pine (from a type of tree that's since gone the way of the Dodo) two inch flooring that was pulled up from the floor of Al Gore Sr's tobacco barn. Absolutely stunning. And absolutely filthy. 

Years of tobacco being smushed into tongue and groove meant a LOT of gunk. I thought about the best way to clean it out, and had an idea. It's like gum. I waited for a pretty cold day, left the wood out overnight, and started into it the next morning. The tar like substance had hardened in the cold, and chipped out pretty easily. Then, four hours with steel brush got out most of the rest. Then, I got to work. 

I assembled the boards into 3'x6' slab, using pocket screws underneath that were then covered over by two brace planks. I did a little rough hand planing (with the grain, for once....fancy that) and sanded the slab into scuffed and marred perfection. Then I coated it with several layers of matte Rustoleum polyurethane, and called it a day. 

But then I needed a base. I wasn't too happy about pairing something pedestrian with then historic lumber, it needed something amazing. Soon after, I found my answer. An image of an incredible table. Marble top. Copper legs. Made for Garde in LA. 

Photo by David John

Photo by David John

And I had my answer! 

I used 1" copper pipe for the legs, and 3/4" for the brace in the middle. I decided that since the table top was inherently rough, I wanted the base to juxtapose. Instead of letting the pipe verdigris, I sealed it with a gloss coat to keep it nice and shiny. 

The end product was awesome...probably one of the best tables I've ever made. I finished it off with a single initial of the client who commissioned the blank slate table and called it a day. 

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