The Table That Friendship Built

I built a table.  And when I say "I", know that I really mean "we".  The "we" I am referring to are my sweet friends.  Said friends have completed numerous wood working projects together and are still married to tell the tale.  In fact they work really well together.  On countless occasions I have shared my love for the table with them and made off handed comments about wanting to build a bigger table.  I wanted to be able to accommodate more people, make more space for story telling, more prayers, more toasts.  See where I'm headed with this?  They told me to find plans for the table and we could build it together.  What the what?!  

Let me share a little story so you are able to completely understand my participation in the actual building process.  When our family was here in June I told them of our table building idea.  Bigger, better, more chairs, maybe even a bench.  It all sounded super.  Until Husband Jared began asking questions.  How big? Have you taken measurements?  Exactly how will we bring said project into our town home with three flights of stairs and some unforgiving angles?  I laughed it off and referred to the answers to his questions as minor details.  And then my father in law, builder extraordinaire, started asking the same questions.  I will admit I hadn't given it a second thought, until then.  I wanted a new table and I had a more than willing partnership to bring this dream to fruition.  In my mind that was more than enough planning.  That my friends is how I operate.  Not in the details apparently.  Thankfully Daniel does understand that space so when I sent him a few of the plans I was considering he looked them over, measurements and all and chose the best one.  He even shopped for the lumber and had it cut to size.  Whew, no measuring twice or five times for me.  Husband Jared could be confident that our table would at the very least be sized appropriately and accurately.
 Now we were on our way!  

The day we started this event was the day after Husband Jared's wrist surgery.  Needless to say he was our supervisor.  Sitting in his chair, cold beverage in hand and offering endless amounts of encouragement and humor.  Daniel and Minette had completed most of the actual building before we arrived.  Spanish cedar was the lumber choice and it was absolutely beautiful, not to mention it smelled delicious.  Our table was in two pieces, the base and the table top itself.  Both raw in form and waiting to be sanded, stained and sealed.  Decisions needed to be made regarding all that so Minette and I took a trip to the hardware store for some insight, and to purchase my very own hand sander.  The situation was getting real people.  I had never before owned my own power tool.  I was official.  Or at least I felt that way.  We then decided on the stain, actually a weathering process we were going to try with steel wool and vinegar.  You break apart steel wool pads and allow them to dissolve in vinegar over a few days.  Once they do, simply brush on the solution and watch the magic happen.  I wish now that I would have been better at taking photos along the way.  It was incredible to witness each stage as the wood morphed into a functional piece of furniture and art piece all at once.  Many days later and quite a few sanding lessons later both the base and top were sanded.  Then began the weathering and sealing.  The tools and experts resided at the Martin household and working around our family's schedules made the experience even more interesting.  About two weeks from our start date the table was complete and being assembled in our dining room.

First time with a hand sander, eventually I got the hang of it.  That is after every noise or mishap stopped intimidating me.

Somewhere during the sanding stages.  Look at our smiles, I think it would be safe to assume we were having some fun!

One last tid bit I'd like to share with you, an aha moment I experienced just as I was finishing sanding the table top.  Almost as if the notion had escaped my logic.  Eventually, there would actually be people sitting around this table.  Friends and family, strangers even, gathered in the space I've created.  And thus began the prayers.  With every brush stroke and rag applied poly coat I prayed.  For all those people, known and unknown that will meet us around this table.  For friends that help create and laugh with you along the way.  For space to tell stories, to make mistakes, for time to listen and really hear, for laughter and games and spilled drinks, for crumbs in the cracks and splinters where I didn't sand, for candle wax dripping and heads resting on folded arms, for map games and highs and lows, for prayers said and recited, Bible stories read and love outpoured in the in-between.  For the beautiful and messy, for grace and for the food, for dessert and full bellies, for empty ones that come hungry for more.  For the sacred.

So when I say that this is the table that friendship built, it truly is.  Without Daniel and Minette I'm not so sure my table dream would be a real thing residing in our family's dining room right this very minute.  Not only that but throughout the process we spent time together.  Our families ate impromptu meals together.  Home made slip n slides were built, smoke bombs created, there were walks to the park and there was much laughter.  Always laughter. I learned a new skill or two and I had the privilege of doing so surrounded by people I love.  What a gift.  Thank you friends for building something much bigger than a table with me.

Here's an open invitation to our table; Join us and when you do be prepared to add some art to our table.  Sharpies are at the ready for your signature or tag, a favorite quote or character.  I can't wait!

The finished product!

1 Response to "The Table That Friendship Built"

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Very cool.

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