Permanent Tourist

The personal website of Mark Howells-Mead

Working with wood

We moved into our current home a couple of years ago. Since then, I’ve had access to a small workshop in the cellar, which our landlord – a builder and carpenter by trade – used for smaller jobs whilst re-building the house itself. I’d not made much use of it but ideas of starting to learn how to work with wood took over pretty quickly when we moved in. But I have plenty of other ideas too, so that one stayed on the back-burner for a long time.

Then I came up with an idea for a small coffee table: a simple solution using a log with recessed coasters, which I could create myself. Furniture along similar lines in posh interior design stores cost many hundreds of francs and although we love the style of our mainly IKEA-furnished home, I wanted to achieve something unique with the additional pride of having made it myself. So a friend found a suitable block at a local sawmill for around Fr. 25 and brought it over many months ago, since when it’s been sitting next to our front door waiting to be transformed.

I finally got around to asking our landlord for help and we spent yesterday morning working on the log: he using the more dangerous and precise tools of chainsaw and router, whilst I worked with flat and brush sanders to smooth and shape the raw block. Three hours later, we’d converted a lump of wood into a lovely and unique piece of furniture. It now sits, oiled and smooth, next to a comfortable chair in our living room, bedecked with a small warm-toned lamp to bring out the colour of the wood and a recessed pair of slate coasters from England.

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