Repairing the damage. Things that go wrong. 1: A Makers Year 16:



I promised I would show you the things that go wrong as well as the things that go right. This is a table that broke in half in the back of my car. YEP! That sounds improbable but that’s exactly what happened. We’ve been making tables a bit like this for about ten to fifteen years. It came about from a client’s wish to have a long, low table that meandered around a bit like a river. I decided that we could achieve that best NOT by running the grain of the timber down the length of the table, as is conventional, but running it across. It meant making lots of joints between relatively narrow boards.  We were also picking very largely quarter sawn timber to avoid any movement. But the table was some two and three quarters inch thick so when you glue long grain to long grain it should be a pretty strong joint.


I have a seventeen year old son who is our company quality control department. If he can’t break the dam thing then all is well and good. Whenever we design a new chair it goes home for a few weeks and we let Alex sit in it. When we first did this table he was too young for this but i the usual destructive stuff, I sat on it, I stood on it, I did everything that you would encourage your child not to do to a piece of furniture. So it was distinctly alarming when I broke this table in half.


I was carrying the table from an exhibition to another gallery. I do this periodically I have pieces in two or three different galleries and I swap them around if they don’t sell. I was late for a meeting and I was driving through the suburbs of Warwick. There are some very large bumps in the road in Warwick. We call them, in the UK, sleeping Policemen. They are humps in the road that are intended to slow the traffic down. I can’t say slowed me down that much.


I hit the first one at probably about forty miles per hour and the entire car went KABAM. The table in the back of the car became airborne and crashed down, splitting itself in half. I thought, at first, it must have split along a glue line. Then I looked at it more carefully and I couldn’t blame the craftsman who made it as the glue lines remained strong and the split was entirely in the timber.


more to come


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