If you follow us on social media, you are not surprised by the title of this blog. It seems we are posting images of our woodwork daily. We are sanding old barn wood to repurpose for our bar face and décor. We also found an old beat up oak table that will become the top of a barrel table. Another interesting piece you will find is an eight-person high top table that was made of an old freezer door. It was removed from a convent back in the 1970’s and served as the bar in my parents’ basement for most of my life. With all of this, I have left out what most would consider the most interesting piece, the bar.
This is the story of this tree as I understand it. The wood is from a whole Makore tree (tieghemella africana). It was brought to the United Stated in 1977 and sat at Midwest Woodworking Company until they went out of business in 2014 or 2015 (I get conflicting information). As when businesses close, there was a liquidation auction and the gentleman we bought our pieces from bought the whole tree at auction. He has tried to sell it as the whole tree ever since. Luckily, he reached out to us asking if we were interested. We were able to negotiate a price for three slabs and now we have a beautiful bar top.
Why do I bring this up? This species of tree is an “at risk” species from Africa. I originally wanted a solid slab for our bar top, but the cards were not lining up. The pieces we found around the Greater Cincinnati area were not stored properly and/or in bad shape. We found some amazing wood just north of Columbus that was cut into dimensional lumber. It would have looked great with craftmanship, glue, and finish. We were set on that until we were contacted by the Makore owner. We are not for deforesting of any rainforest or harvesting any “at risk” species of tree. However, this tree is going to start rotting away if it is not used soon. The gentleman we purchased our pieces from is storing it fairly well, but there are some signs of weather damage. My thought was it is better to use something this beautiful than have it go to waste. We are not sure if this was logged or if it was harvested as fallen timber. There are signs that do point to it being close to the end of its life such as beetle bore holes in the outer layer. Unfortunately, that is a question we will not get the answer to. If you happen to be looking for some solid slabs of wood, reach out to us through the contact tab and we will gladly put you in touch with our source. Again, I do not want to see this tree go to waste.
So, that brings me to the whole point of this blog. While the education piece is interesting, it is not what I am writing about today. There is a small internal debate about putting a stain on the Makore or just put the bar top glaze on it. We will put a poll out on our Twitter feed in the next few days asking your opinion, stain or no stain. In the meantime, we may test some stains out on a few of our smaller, scrap pieces and post these pictures Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to give you an idea of what the differences can be. As for now, here are some of the pictures of today’s sanding adventure.