It’s about time that I introduce the Carpenter. Tis’ the season of building reclaimed kitchen tables, I guess everyone is getting ready to host for the holidays and wants the perfect table for their holiday spread. The table that I will highlight today has a bit of a story and we will call her The Chestnut.
This table has a story that begins in Hot Springs, NC. The Carpenter and I went to hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail in the Spring and instead of roughing it tent style we did a farm stay. For those of you that have not been to Hot Springs, NC there is not much there other than the A.T., the French Broad River that flows through town and the Hot Springs are somewhere but we never did see them. A seasonal hike-thru town that can only be described as quaint, rustic and peaceful. We were staying 20 minutes outside of town- closest grocery 1 hour- at Briar Rose Farm.
A weekend at Briar Rose is good for the soul. It is nestled within the Appalachian Mountains with 3 cozy cabins scattered throughout the property. Plenty of farm animals, hiking trails, and fishing to keep you entertained the entire weekend…and this place has history. The owner of Briar Rose was in the midst of resurrecting a cabin on the property that was built in the early 1900s. As he was dismantling the cabin board by board he discovered 3 layers of old chestnut that the cabin had originally been built with. The Carpenter has a slight case of wood lust and let me just say that reclaimed chestnut is quite the treasure for any woodworker. Prepare yourselves for a short history lesson on chestnut. The chestnut blight was accidentally introduced to North America around 1900, probably on imported Japanese chestnut nursery stock. By 1940, most mature American chestnut trees had been wiped out by the disease, a four-billion-strong American chestnut population in North America was devastated. It is estimated that in some places, such as the Appalachian Mountains, one in every four hardwoods was an American chestnut. It was only in 2005 that The American Chestnut Foundation harvested the first potentially blight-resistant chestnuts. Needless to say it’s going to be a long time until the chestnut is thriving in the U.S. again and it continues to be one of the most costly woods per board foot on the market today.
Back to the Chestnut table…the Carpenter struck up a friendship with the owner of the property and long story short we were driving home that weekend with a load of reclaimed chestnut in the back of our truck.
The Carpenter is now putting the final touches on a farmhouse table built from this chestnut wood – it will be the focal point of the cabin that the owner has resurrected. What a history this table has to tell; once a chestnut standing tall in Appalachia, chopped down to build a cabin in the early 1900s, age and the environmental elements taking it over, reclaimed by a farmer and constructed into a table for many people to share meals over for years to come. I don’t know about you but I certainly want a table in my home that has a story to tell. I think this might be a project for The Carpenter…