My latest table

For the last few weeks I have been making a rather interesting outdoor dining table. My client wanted something a little different – interlocking curves rather than boring straight slats.

This is what I came up with. I chose characterful boards to cut the top out of so there is the odd knot, split or sloping grain but gives a much more vibrant surface. All the oak for the top is from woodlands local to Oxford where I’m based. It’s a big, heavy table – the top is nearly two inches thick and it’s 5ft diameter (just over 150cm) – a good size for six people.

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Winter is Willow Dome time

December to March is the time when we can build willow domes. This winter we have managed to get most of our willow locally from in and around Oxford. Some of it came from a well established willow dome that we cut every year, and some of it came from from some local water meadows in Dorchester on Thames.

Here’s a photo of me cutting the willow on a cold morning a few weeks ago.

We’ve used this willow for building a willow fence, or rather a screen, around a trampoline in a back garden, and also for maintaining some existing domes in a local school.

It’s difficult to take a good photo of this as the trampoline tends to dominate – I suppose that’s why they wanted it screened. The willow will provide much more of a visual barrier as it starts to leaf in a month or two.

Here’s some detail…

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Big oak planters

Back in the summer we made four large oak planters for a local client. These were very substantially made from 50mm thick oak boards. Height was around 750mm.

I went back to visit them last week. They have now been filled with earth and planted with herbs. The colours all go beautifully together.

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Contemporary Curved Green Oak Bench

Here’s another view of the benches I made last month.

The rain brings out the grain of the oak very nicely. The colour will slowly fade away to silvery grey over the course of the next year or so as the UV gets to timber.

For more information see Oxford Oak

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Curved Oak Benches

Last week we finished making three curved benches for a client’s garden.

Here we are just doing the finishing touches to one of them.

I love these benches – they’re a really simple design – almost minimalist – but are both very elegant and robust.

Here’s a photo of it in the garden, just placed temporarily prior to a stone footing being laid.

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Traditional Oak Pergola with curved beams

I have just finished making a large oak pergola. It’s about 35m long and consists of 16 bays. All of the beams running along the pergola, and joists running across it have a lovely gentle curve cut on them. This gives it a lighter, more graceful feel to what is essentially a very traditional pergola.

The photo shows it nearing completion. Here we still have to fit most of the braces running across the pergola – only the one in the forground has been fitted so far. The construction is my normal pegged mortice and tenon joints. I hope show you photos of the completely finished pergola soon.

For more information see Oxford Oak

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Cleaning up the posts

Here’s how we clean up the posts. Most of the work is done with a draw-knife.

It’s quite hard work but the results are great as the knife tends to follow the grain of the timber closely and leaves a lovely finish.

The top is then finished with the help of a sander. These posts are going to be used for leap frog so they need to be smooth and tactile.

I’ll post a photo once they are installed.

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