Just a few days ago, I completed a Mission style pedestal table for my kitchen. This was big for me; it was the biggest piece of furniture I'd built, and it was going to be one of the most visible ones (its the kitchen table!). I was really focused on getting it right, and on doing a good job. But despite that, what was surprising was that this wasn't the hardest project I've built. I think that after several years of learning and improving my woodworking skills, setting up and arranging my shop, and getting experience and familiarity with the various techniques I used, each challenge was just another step in the process. I had all the tools I needed, and the space to work on things. In many ways, the satisfaction of completing this table was also a validation that I'm on the right path as a woodworker.
But how did I get here? This table was really the culmination of a two year long kitchen rebuilding project. One that involved reconditioning double-hung sash windows and rebuilding the trim & casing, moving a doorway to a bedroom off the kitchen, tearing out an old floor and replacing it with solid oak, designing and building face frame kitchen cabinets, having some plumbing, electrical, and tile work, etc, etc. During the demolition near the beginning, as I did my research into the build, I sat amongst dust and debris, exposed electrical fixtures, and crumbling cracked tiles, and saw a picture in "The New Bungalow Kitchen" by Peter LaBau, of a cozy kitchen corner, with built in bench seats, nice oak trim windows, and a simple table. THAT's what I wanted for my house, and that was in my mind the whole time.
The floor, and cabinets, and windows have all been complete since last fall, and added the bench seats/banquette earlier, and now the table is in place. Here's the original picture, and what that corner looks like now...
I think I got it. I wasn't trying to copy it exactly, but get that feel with my own touches and preferences. It was a long run, but its good to get here. I achieved a lot; not only do I have a gorgeous table that I'm proud of, but we have a very comfortable and cozy new living space in our home, and stuck to my vision and got there in the end. This sort of moment is one of the best things that woodworking brings to my life.
Along the way, I had to do a lot of things in order to get the table build. I blogged about that earlier in the "Things I Built to Build the Thing" post. I also posted a step-by-step of the build on my blog over at Lumberjocks.com. Go there if you like to see pictures of piles of wood and things in clamps. And you can see more finished pictures on the gallery page on this site.