One of the things I endulge in, when time allows, is to dable in a little carpentry. It all started when I made a coffee table for our house, out of a very old pitch pine beam I discovered in the garage when we moved into our currently property. A number of friends and relatives then said they wanted one, and someone sourced a number of very old, very hard pieces of oak. Having completed two back in 2005, this year I thought i'd better start clearing the garage of timber, and put a few together for Helping Hayden. I've made two so far this year - one for the Helping Hayden ball auction on March 9th, and one for the Vodafone Summer Festival auction on June 8th - both went down a storm. If you'd like one, drop me a line (I do have a slight backlog!). Hope you like it, as much as I enjoyed making it.

The Summer Festival piece (raised £425 which will be doubled with matched funding!) 

The following is the story of the piece for the ball.

Starting off with the raw materials - 48" x 12" x 12" of very hard, very old oak. The Oak is either split in half by hand (if the grain allows) or cut with the chainsaw. 
The Oak is then cut and planned into 4" thick planks for the top, and 6"x8" pieces for the legs 
 Squaring off the legs and the underside of the top, to ensure the table sits level 
The top is planed to preserve the 'age' and character of the timber - tryng to keep the rustic feel 
Time to joint the top pieces together - handmade dowels and plenty of glue 
Top is now glued, and left for a number of days, following which rough sanding to soften edges and remove planing marks is undertaken 
Legs and now jointed to the table top - the dowels are glued into the legs only - the table will be too heavy to lift if the legs are glued to it,  
The assembled table - the top rests on the legs, and the dry dowels provide all the stability needed. The dowels on the legs are offset, so the correct leg goes at the correct end. 
Final machine sanding for the top - time to get artistic, and enhance the character and natural peternation  
Final machine sanding on the legs, and a check that all is square and level. 
The 'finishing' commences. After final sanding by hand, its into the dining room (too cold in the garage!). Going for an oil based finish this time.  
After 6 coats of oil (first 3 applied with fine wet sanding immediately after oil application) over 6 days, the tables finished, with a surface as smooth as a babies behind, and a satin finish 
Can't help getting excited by the character of the timber.... 
The natural grain and colur of the top 
The finish on the top 
The finish on one of the legs - I love the way the wood grain wraps around the end and side of this leg - very tactile and warm.