Cedar is an amazing wood, and so versatile. I have made many things over the years, but never a full indoor dining set. Usually I make my furniture a little heavier as it is most often used as outdoor furniture. This dining set was made to be inside, so I tried to keep the scale of the furniture similar to that of other indoor furniture. With this table and chairs set my design was influenced by the craftsmen of the arts & crafts movement of long ago in California. But no matter what design I use, the irregular undulations of the hand split cedar play a predominate role in the finished look, and I use these natural shapes of the wood to help create my designs. For instance if you look at the chairs you will notice that the front and back legs are curved- these are natural curves in the wood when it was split. Same with the legs of the table, they flare out and get wider at the bottom, each one different and unique. Not a single piece of wood in this set is straight! (though the table top is planed flat…)
The table is made from reclaimed cedar, its top milled from a large cedar that came down on Salt Spring Island (fitting since this is where the client lives!) by Stefan at lostandfoundlumber.com. The table top pieces had beautiful worm trails in the live edge, which matched other hand split cedar I had salvaged and used for the bracing under the table. (see more about the table in a previous blog).
The chairs were made to go with the table recently. Six chairs in total, 4 regular chairs and 2 slightly larger ones with armrests. They are fairly tall, standing at about 44″. Each chair has 22 mortise & tenon joints (plus 4 more in the chairs with arms). I used a Festool Domino Jointer to do most of the these joints. That way I can butt fit the pieces of cedar together and then mark out all the joints. The chairs are all sanded smooth, and I even carved a comfortable bum pattern into each seat. The colours that came out in the cedar are amazing! From blonds through orange, red, and into darker browns, and purples. The chairs are finished with Landark Natural Oil. This dining set should last a lifetime and more with care. Thank you to my wonderful clients for commissioning such fun projects for me to make!