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Friday, March 22, 2013

Tables Turned

You've seen plenty of photos of my table but never like this, this is a very rare sight.
My old pine table is one large entire slab of timber and I bet it has seen plenty over the last 100 years. It is one of my vital "tools" in the kitchen. 
Craig has his grandmother's table and it is almost identical to this one. He remembers it in his grandmother's laundry/larder room where it was used for damping down the clean linen and rolling before ironing. It was where she made her pickles and stored her pumpkins. She kept it scrubbed clean and pale.
My table is commonly covered with drying preserved peel, fresh soap wrapped in blankets, drying herbs, cooling preserves and drying pasta or some sort of sewing project. I've bathed babies on it and clipped dogs. We've even butchered sheep on this table. It's a complete work horse compared to other more formal tables I know. There are indentations from someone doing their homework and a clamp mark, perhaps from a bean cutter or a mincer. It is a warm honey tone and I lovingly run my hands over all it's scars. When I see modern tables for sale in shops, I don't think all these activities are what they have in mind for them, they are purely "dining tables". 
It was Wendy's visit last month that got me pondering this vital "tool" of mine. You may remember that Wendy is currently doing her Phd and researching the relationship of house and garden design to urban sustainability and I'm sure she would find your comments useful.  How about you? Is your kitchen table like a best friend? Do you remember kitchen tables from generations before you? How about those classic hard wearing laminex topped chrome bound ones? They took a pounding too. Or have you confined your activities to the kitchen counter tops?


  1. I have wonderful memories of when I was about 6 years old and my Mom used to buy huge wheels of cheese at a wholesaler, and then sell it off. My dad and I used to sit with the list and measurements. When the cheese was a little heavy, we used to cut off a slice and share it between us. My mom could never figure out why our share seemed so meagre! We didn't have TV either and used to sit around that same table in the kitchen and listen to the radio.

  2. Our dining table is used well too. Originally I wanted to just keep it clean with a beautiful runner along the centre but realistically someone is always there...building or fixing computers, cutting out fabric, writing, reading, chopping veges for dinner or just chatting over cups of tea and coffee. We do eat meals there too..hehe!

  3. DO tell me how you keep your table top looking so good? Do you rub wax in or? Mine needs some treatment - I love the character built up over the last 16 years... I even once in a while remind my girl friend who put a dent in it. She was mortified and insisted her hubby came to fix it. I had to convince her and show her all the other marks and tell her what character means to me. Unlike her who likes the 'perfect' table.

  4. Our old girl is a work horse too. Actually she is not as old as yours, 15 years, but the timber is. My Dad made mine out of a single piece of pine too. It has a brass plaque underneath, telling its history. I hope my grandchildren and great grandchildren get to see this. It's the overflow bench when I bake, the place I scatter torn out recipes and write them in my recipe journal, I sew there, read magazines, have family dinners, (yes clip the dog), make lavender bags, wrap presents, arrange flowers.

  5. Our kitchen table is a rescued desk that Dunc found in a School shed where he was the groundsman. It used to be covered in leather - but that was long gone when it came home with us. It has holes where a clamp was bolted and wood on the base of each leg to make it higher. It became our kitchen table when we returned from travel and were skint and it now remains a treasured hub of our kitchen. We use it for everything - cooking, drawing, writing, reading, drinking coffee and eating together and it is where all our visitors gravitate when they come over. I love it scars and stains - I love that we don't have to be precious about it - and for that reason it is precious.

  6. I use my kitchen table for everything - desk, dining, cutting fabric, crafting, assembling puzzles, etc. My oak table is 30 years old, and I love it.

  7. now i have my huge granite kitchen benches ...i have given the family pine table to my daughter...mine was very old and lovingly scared like yours and will continue to be lovingly worked and played on where it is...(i still visit it of course) i have a dining table as well but this one is made from timber my darling dad (died Sept last) had stockpiled under the hose fro 40 years...(refer to my blog post)...i lovingly oil it to keep the natural day it will continue its journey through the grand children and will gain those well earned scars...but for now it is just being loved...thank you for reminding me how beautiful things become that way...

  8. i can't imagine how big the tree must have been that your table came from..

    i just love furniture that has history even if i don't know what the stories within are..your table's stories are wonderful..jane


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