So I tweeted out a couple pictures of my prototype food truck table (above) and I got a bunch of responses, retweets and favourites, which was nice. Every thing is salvaged. Every piece of wood tells a story. We are testing the table and benches in front of the Coast Lunchbox food truck at BETA at Dockside Green. You can find owner/chef Josh Wilhelm there most days through the week (that's him in the window working on my Thai Salad, which was awesome!). The strangest / coolest 'favourite' was by a restaurant in California: Buri Tara Thai on Ventura Boulevard in Woodland Hills, CA. That's strange. Maybe they picked up on me thanking Josh for the Thai Salad. What's cool is that the restaurant is a ten minute drive from this:
Recognize it? I sure as hell do. Daniel LaRusso lived there. So did Mr. Miyagi. Yep, that's the apartment in Reseda, California that was used for the filming of The Karate Kid. The original Karate Kid. I spent several summers cooking in fishing resorts on the BC Coast. The first year was 110 straight days on the MV Marabell, a converted WWII minesweeper that was the sister ship to Jaques Cousteau's Calypso. We had three VHS tapes to watch for the whole summer. Top Gun, The Karate Kid, and three quarters of The Never Ending Story (seriously). You can do the math on the date by 'VHS' and the movie selection. I pretty much know every line and scene in Top Gun and The Karate Kid. Hated the other one. I figure the favourite by Buri Tara is as close as I am getting to Reseda any time soon. Does that get me a couple degrees closer to the Karate Kid?
Stay tuned for what happens to this blank canvas. I am taking on the demo and reno of this 90's era restaurant space out in Sidney, BC. The carpet and tired flooring are already gone and that ski-lodge fire place, that I am sure was featured in Hot Tub Time Machine, is missing all the faux river rock. More details on the name, clients and menu when we get further along, and we are ready to start spreading the news. It's going to be great space. We plan to add twenty-seven feet of salvaged Douglas-fir on the bar, and to build some of the tables from the same material. The fantastic view, that I will feature in a future blog, is of the marina. You will be able to see the Gulf Islands and a bit of Mount Baker from the patio. Kinda nice to help design a space that you would love to have a beer in after work, eh? Oh and there's plans for 8 draft taps . . .
So we built our first table. The we is myself and Rick Silva. You can see more about that collaboration on our Facebook page: D-Men design/build. It's D-men because Rick and I have played defence together for our old-timer hockey team, the Silver Marmots. The 'Hammer' in Hammer and Tidy is actually my hockey nickname, referencing the Philly Flyer / Broad Street Bully Dave 'The Hammer' Schultz. Rick's nickname is Rico. Hockey players don't have much imagination.
Amongst the other collaborations we have undertaken both on and off the ice, we have gone in together on the tools, space and time to make these kind of tables with three leg options: aluminum, steel and the wood you see here. The wood legs and frame on this one actually is from a pallet that was used to ship the steel. Once we have our own personal dining tables made this month, we will have some more options for clients to have a look at.
The table tops are from Douglas-fir floor joists, 2 inches thick and almost a full 16 inches wide. They used to hold up the floors in the buildings at the corner of Victoria's Pandora Avenue and Fan Tan Alley. We rescued them from the chipper. The demo guys were filling a dumpster when we 'intervened'. I am glad we did. You can get a sense of how big the trees were by imagining how big the circle of growth rings must have been. We sanded these with a belt sander because there's just too much iron hiding in there to think about planing them, and we just love being able to see the marks of the saw that milled them over one hundred years ago. Stay tuned for more details on the leg and top options and how to order.
I used to say 'let it go' a lot. Way before that ear worm song from the Disney movie. Saying 'let it go' as advice to friends and family when I salvage stuff is a bit ironic. I have not engaged on a 12 step program (yet). I am trying to move a bit a product faster, though. I have connected my love of two things, old hand tools and salvaged wood, into a series of pieces I am calling Tool Time, until I come up with something that sounds better. The pieces of wood are leftovers from other projects: Kitchen renos, feature walls, furniture. I have either found the tools, or the tools have found me. "Hammer will like this hammer. It is his nickname, after all." I like a few things about them:
- With a quick snip from some pliers, and a little scrub with steel wool, these tools are good to go. When Global Economic Collapse hits, and you have a couple of these up on the wall, you are ready. I imagine there's someone like me down in Texas doing the same thing with rifles and corroguated tin.
- I have offcuts of plywood that I attach these to, so it's a case of making up a little puzzle of wood that goes together and connects to the wood on the handles.
- the next series will include some instructions drawn either on the piece, or for a gallery card beside it. When I was working on these at an event recently, half the people looked at them with fondness saying, "Oh that one is just like my grandpa's", while others looked at them like they were as old as stuff coming out of the crypt in Egypt. I suppose I could develop an app for that . . .
Next in line is a series of pieces that focus on kitchen tools. Yes, I have a box of those, too. Getting ready to let them go!
Funny how 'art' just looks better on a white wall with good lighting and fancy hangers. Art galleries may have something going with that vibe. This is one of mine, Morkrap Shipping 2, acrylic on salvaged wood. When I walk the dog up Mt. Tolmie, I can usually see a couple container ships working their way to Vancouver, with the Olympic Mountains as a backdrop. Yes, I do like to use the pallets in those containers, but do we really need all that plastic crap on top of the pallets? This piece is currently at the Cedar Hill Recreation Centre in Saanich, BC in a show highlighting upcoming studio tours around Saanich. I am one of the artists on upcoming Mt. Tommie Artist Tour, May 2 & 3. It's a great opportunity to see what some of your neighbours are up to, and for me, yet another reason to clean up the workshop/studio! I will have some new work and in progress art pieces to see, as well as some up-cycled furniture to look at. If you are so inclined, I will be offering it up for sale, and might have some salvaged material I can be convinced to part with for your up-cycling projects!
A client asked if I could put some beeswax on the yoga blocks I make from salvaged wood. Sure thing, I said. How hard could that be, I wondered. Not too hard, and I really like the results. I find the 'practice' of making a yoga block as relaxed as I imagine the end user is when they use the prop in their yoga practice. When I am on a salvage run, I always keep an eye out for clean, straight, heat-treated wood that can used for the outside of the box. I set aside interesting offcuts for the 'ends' and then build a production run of a dozen or so, through a process of cutting, glueing, pinning and sanding. These ends are Douglas-fir, salvaged from a 100 year old building off Fan Tan Alley in Victoria, BC's Chinatown. Adding the wax is just another step along the path. I made this wax from olive oil and beeswax, heated over the stove in the kitchen. It smells amazing and the wood just glows.