It is a rare occasion to be given a piece of timber from a classified "old growth tree". Especially when the trees it once sat amongst have been cut down and logged many years ago, or still stand due to being protected from logging.
This slab is said to have come from one of the many old mills around Orbost in East Gippsland that shut down 10-25 years ago. The tree itself was an old growth Round Leaf Box and was said to be 700 years old around the time it was cut down.
I have had the slab of timber myself now for 2 years sitting, slowly drying out.
I was given the timber by a very close family friend, who's kitchen bench tops were made from the same tree, and whose sons, as well as my own parents, also having table tops all from this one source. Personally I feel really happy to now also be able to sit down to this lovely timber, as it now ties us together even more than we already are. In a way, we all sit down to eat, relax, in the same place, while still being kilometres apart.
If you look closely at the slab itself you can see that it was from right in the heart of the tree where branches forked out on both sides. Generally with timber it is really hard to get a cut like this due to the way trees are milled and the sizes they are cut to. Being from this part of the tree it gives a whole lot of character to this piece.
Being the piece of timber that it is, as it dried out a few smaller cracks started to open up. I did not want to cut any from the piece and to be honest, I almost cried cutting it to the shape it is today.
I had to do something to keep the cracks from pulling apart even more, so I came up with a little idea. A variation on the traditional method of using a small bow tie piece of timber. I changed this to a small X that was half lapped together and inlayed into the slab. Doing so created a very strong and different look than most. Once I had filled the holes and cracks with resin it became very strong and effective, while still nice to look at. A small feature as such.
The frame was made from American White Ash due to its integrity and consistency. I also added the large X through the base of the table frame to tie it together with the X's inlayed in the top. Once constructed I sprayed the whole frame black as I wanted the slab to be the glory piece and stand alone.
The slab itself was sealed with a natural varnish product and then after 4 coats, I buffed it to give a matt finish.
This piece is going to stay with me in my home for many years to come.
A big Thank You to the Ryan family for the piece for timber.