A couple of months ago, a long lost friend of mine from grade school popped up in my life again. I had not seen him in over a decade when I received an email out of the blue, asking if I would build the furniture for a cafe in Silverton, Colorado that he and his brother were opening. Originally he asked if I was capable of making over 40 pieces – 10 tables with chairs and a few benches. Of course I was beyond honored for the commission and knew that I could not pass up the opportunity. However, being only six weeks away from the opening, I knew that I had no chance of completing the job in that time frame. We discussed the possibilities, and agreed upon my building the 6 cafe tables and letting him source the chairs and benches.
I immediately got to work designing a table that had all the modern industrial qualities of my other pieces, but more well-suited to the abuse it would be receiving in a busy cafe. Weston wanted something with paint or color, with the rough grain raised look of some of my other works. The only caveat was that he needed the tables to be easily cleaned. Its a hard combination to get the look of a rough old barn, while still offering a spill proof and easily cleaned surface. The solution ended up being a simple one, and one that I feel adds an extra depth of aesthetic that I haven’t encountered before. I used a bunch of ‘scrap’ lumber from a great source down in Oregon, and wire brushed the wood to make the grain pop. After that, I poured a two part epoxy over top. The epoxy gets rock hard, is scratch proof, clear as glass, and easily cleaned. My cousin Felix, who has been collaborating with me as of late (when not working on his company, Quiver Bicycles), helped with the design and welding of the frames, which we built strong and sturdy to last many years in the cafe.
With this project has come an exciting revelation. In addition to working on these tables, I have gathered a handful of other projects and commissions for the summer. I am quickly finding that I don’t have enough time outside of my day job to keep up. This means that I have officially put in my resignation to pursue furniture making full time – I could not be more excited!
I own a debt of gratitude to my friend Weston for trusting me with such a large project. It was just the kick in the pants I needed to leave my day job. I hope that they serve him well in Cafe Great Divide – and if you happen to be in Silverton, Colorado, make sure to stop by and take a peek! I also need to thank my wife for all her love, support, and encouragement. She is a brave soul to encourage me to quit my job and follow my dreams. There are many of you out there reading this that have also given me so many kind words of encouragement. Thank you all!
Stick with me. This may be one hell of a journey.