Students turn a $15 table into $2,000
Charlie Laidlaw, of the Chippendale International School of Furniture in East Lothian, Scotland, recently emailed me the following update.
This year Fergus McCoss (23) and Nicholas Ingram (20), both from the UK, up-cycled a table that they had purchased for £10 (pounds sterling), inlaying it with intricate nautical stars and putting it on sale for £1,200.
The newly-renamed Admiral’s Table was one of the showpieces at the school’s recent graduation ceremony.
The long-established Chippendale School takes students of all ages from around the world. This year’s intake included students from the USA and Canada – as well as across the UK.
Having rescued the discarded table, Fergus and Nick’s first task was to remove the table’s top, which was beyond repair, then break down the frame to re-strengthen the legs and treat significant patches of rot.
Then it was a question of removing old veneer on the frame and legs, before veneering an X stretcher from the table’s base with American walnut, and inlaying mitred-box lining along the edges. Cut bicycle inner tubes were used to bind the X stretcher while the glue was curing, with the clamp placed over the rubber tube – a good tip to prevent scratching to the delicate veneering.
The table’s central decoration, the nautical star, was hand-made from sycamore and stained ebony sycamore. The decoration on the X stretcher mimics the table’s top, using sycamore and ebony stained sycamore inlaid into Macassar ebony veneer. These were then “aged” to give the piece an antique feel.
The nautical star centerpiece on the table top required meticulous precision, to ensure accurate cuts without damaging the surrounding veneer. The nautical star was then laid into a substrate, with the table top placed into a vacuum bag.
The bag was then sealed and vacuum pressure applied, so as to exert substantial pressure on the star as the PVA glue was curing. All that then remained was to apply an additional coat of wood stain and several coats of heat proof lacquer and wax, hand rubbed to a brilliant shine.
The nautical, or nautilus, star is symbolic of the sea and of a ship’s compass rose. It represents the North Star, used by sailors for navigation, and was often tattooed onto sailors’ arms as a good luck charm.
McCoss, who is moving to Palma de Mallorca (Spain) to run a marine carpentry business, is “delighted with the renovated table, which demonstrates that old and useless furniture is simply new and beautiful furniture in disguise.”
Ingram is starting work for a high-end furniture maker in Norfolk, England.
Nicholas Ingram (left) and Fergus McCoss, students at the Chippendale International School of Furniture, recently rescued this table from a bonfire.
They priced the restored table at $2,000.
It features inlaid compass roses, a motif common to the nearby North Sea.