Burtonesque Seating

I had wanted some outside seating and had an abundance of red oak. Originally the table portion was taller to support a round, gray granite tabletop a carpenter had given me. The table he had made for it had fallen over and nearly took off the foot of his 5-year old.

It looked like crap when finished, especially with the un-aged warmth of the red oak, and I substituted a square glass top on it for a while before dropping that as well. The visual space of the Burton/Brancusi mix just wouldn?t allow it.

Without a top the table was visually too tall, as I had left enough room for leg space, but I wasn?t motivated enough to make the correction. I just wanted some outside seating, and the set was surprisingly comfortable for such a hard-edged design.

On a bitterly cold and clear January night my then girlfriend and I were forced to wait on the outside while a major battle was being decided a half-mile away that was not going to be decided in our favor. A board member was about to be voted off the museum board of trustees that would have a major impact on our lives. To take our minds off of the unfolding events I set up a campfire in an old wok on a block of wood on top of the table. We spent the evening under the stars with a full moon working across the sky above the pines, wrapping ourselves in moving blankets and drinking viscous, sub-freezing polish vodka. Crystal flakes of ice in the shot glasses reflected in the firelight as the edge of the moon slowly began to disappear into a full eclipse. Co-incidentally the timing matched the board?s meeting schedule, but voting our guy off ?for no reason? was the first order of business, and we knew pretty soon after the fact.

At the point of total eclipse we were feeling very pagan and decided to set fire to the dried out Christmas tree from the museum that I had thrown into the back lot. I had brought a burning stick to light it but the wind was so stiff that we couldn?t keep the tree burning. I brought the embering, sparking tree back on my shoulder to finish it off back at the fire, and the sight of this sent my companion into hysterics. I don?t think she was able to stop laughing for about a half hour. A little after 1 a.m. we broke it off and I took the wok off of the block, only to go out to survey the damage the next morning and find the block burned through to the table. Fortunately, there was not that much damage and I finally trimmed it to the correct proportions.

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