The original farm tables were born from the very basic need ofsettlers to have a place to sit and eat. These early
harvest tables werevery basic indeed, cut from plentiful timber stocks, as towns wereformed they needed lumber and grain. These were supplied by lumberand grain mills, which were more often than not located on a riverwhich provided the power.
Structural timbers were quicklyconverted to legs and long slabs became table tops. Tools were veryprimitive, so the farm table was usually long and narrow and basic.Seating was usually a bench or two which resembled a miniature farmtable. The lumber used, was very rarely cured or kiln dried. Airdrying had to do. For this reason if you can find an original farmtable you will see inevitably it would have cracks and twists formedas the lumber dried, in the home. Quite often the owner would have tocut a small wooden bowtie and cut it into the table across the crackto keep it from lengthening and widening further. Antique farmtables, in good shape, with this type of characteristic fetch hugedollars if one can find them.
The most plentiful lumber backthen was usually Eastern White Pine, huge trees with nice clear grainand few defects. Soft and easy to work with it made great structurallumber for farm homes and barns, but it's naturally soft natureshowed the wear and tear of daily homestead life when used to build afarm table. Not only was the farm table a place to eat, but moreoften than not it was a handy work bench, baking board, canning ofpreserves and a place to wash the baby etc.
As towns andvillages became more sophisticated, so did the farm table. The lumbermills added kiln drying and then hard woods to their offerings.Paints and varnishes became available, imported from the East coastby merchants. Legs turned on a lathe, quite often powered by a foottreadle, hand pegged tops with walnut accents all served to helptransform a very basic farm table into an elegant dining table. Oakand maple lumber were utilized by craftsmen to provide more durableand more refined type farm tables for their newly affluentclientele.
Presently farm tables have enjoyed resurgence inpopularity. Their warm rustic charm, no matter how old will fit inwith just about any décor from log homes to modernist. Very fewfurniture pieces are able to transcend time and style as the farmtable. The recent building boom which saw many older buildings beingtorn down for salvage, made beautiful old slabs of wood, aged intime, available to the new generation of farm table builder. Theseold boards have the structure and characteristics that are missingfrom modern lumber as the old growth trees are gone.
Modernmethods of cutting, milling, drying and conditioning of lumber hasmade the building of new farm tables much easier than for our earlyancestors. Amateur woodworkers have also been making their own farmtables, but there is nothing like experience to render just the rightfarm table.
While there are many antique dealers selling farmtables you can have one made by several companies, many of who offercraftsman with generations of experience behind them. This experienceand client input can yield for you the perfect farm table. Imaginebeing able to have someone build you a farm table to the length andwidth you need, from the type of wood you would like with the colorand finish of your choice all at a reasonable price
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