Over the years we’ve refined the method we use to build our tables. Part of our process involves joining multiple boards together to make a table top. We’re often asked why we’ve chosen to approach it this way – why not just take a big slab of wood?
There are a few reasons why.
Trees grow slowly.
First off, for some trees it can take anywhere from 150-300 years to grow into a large enough size that the hardwood can be used to make a table. Walnut, a slow growing hardwood, is a great of example of this. So, this approach wouldn’t be sustainable.
Some companies can manage to source lumber from large, very old trees that are removed due to developments and landscaping which is great but we believe the city needs more trees, so we struggle to stand behind this too.
We hand select our lumber through a small number of channels that we have great relationships with, and we know the history of the lumber. We know where our wood was grown, harvested, milled and dried, and only source lumber through Ontario Wood Partners.
Warping and cracking
Let’s say we build you a 96” x 42” table top. We’ll choose to build the table out of 4-5 boards. Very wide wooden boards or live edge slabs have a tendency to warp, cup, crack or change shape as seasons change here in Ontario.
We’re known for our incredibly humid summers, and we can experience severely dry winters. Drastic humidity changes are tough on solid wood pieces as the wood expands and contracts with moisture movement.
So, using multiple boards relieves the stress from the material. Built in smaller sections, there is also far less waste from milling as the wood stays flatter and more usable.
It’s important to consider grain orientation when building a table. In this case, limiting the board width is important because if the board is too wide it will cause curvature in the growth rings. This will create cupping. Cupping is what happens when the edges of a board are higher than the center.
You might also see severe warpage if you keep the growth rings in one direction.
Although using multiple boards like we do drastically reduces the chances of a defect, having the grain orientation incorrect can cause problems. So, when we hand select the materials for your commission we consider all of these factors.
Through a wealth of experience and with the help of some fantastic, high end equipment, we’re are able to avoid all of the defects and sustainability concerns listed above – and still create seamless lines by joining different boards together. You’ll even have trouble seeing the joins!
Have a question about how we build? Contact us!