'What would you sacrifice to sit in that comfy chair with perfect light for an afternoon in eternity, reading the perfect book, forever?'
- Audrey Niffenegger, The Night Bookmobile
Doing what I like to do best ... Reading in the garden. This rare vintage street lamp has been restored and remodelled into a reading/dreaming seat and will soon be available to buy. We think it is one of the most beautiful items we've created so far, and one evening at the end of autumn we took it down into the garden at the Crafthole Cottage and lit up the night with it ... Watch this space for the story of its journey from discarded street light to enchanted reading seat and details on how to purchase (if I can bear to let it go) ...
Dismantling The Winch
One of the essential requirements to being a good Upcycler is the ability to spot an object's 'potential', regardless of its current use, state of (dis)repair and, well, its size!
I suppose I have a bit of a reputation in the boatyard for being the 'go-to' man when something needs removing and, as is often the case in these situations, if I can remove it, I get to keep it.
So it was that I first encountered this particular treasure when my good friend, artist and fellow boat dweller John Maclean asked me for help in removing an-almost-but-not-quite working Thompson Barrel Winch which was welded to the stern of his houseboat, the retired trawler MV Olympic.
All the old fishing gear had long since been removed so we could only assume that the winch had been used, or intended to be used, as an emergency back-up winch. Well, a good anchor winch it wasn't, but as far as John was concerned, a giant lump of in-the-way it was. To my eyes, it was treasure of the highest order, and so we set to removing it ...
Well, this turned out to be considerably more difficult than I might have hoped due not least to the fact that the winch was insanely heavy, but being an Upcycler with a good eye and a large reserve of determined optimism, we persevered, removing the winch piece by weighty piece. One lengthy dismantling later I had a cup of tea and the winch in its many greasy parts.
Creating The Table
My initial intention was to keep some of the original gears in situ as part of the piece but on throughly cleaning the main frames and seeing the three holes with their bearings still in place, I decided to leave it bare. I'm sure the gears will come into their own in another project.
The polished bearings where the gears used to be now make a nice feature in the 'table legs'
I liked the existing patina so carefully removed just enough paint and prepared the rust surface before coating in a few layers of my special gloss varnish.
It is always my intention to show the natural beauty of old surfaces. Here, the rust patina has been treated and varnished and is now looking good next to the brass and painted gold details of the fittings
And so to the feet ...
Well, feet were definitely needed as I didn't particularly want the table to be scratching somebody's nice floor (I seem to spend a lot of time making feet!) This took me a lot of pondering and more than the usual amount of tea, but eventually I came up with a great solution. Unfortunately for me it was also a very complicated and time consuming solution, but patience is a virtue and a whole lot of carving, cutting and angle-grinding later and I eventually had them fitting beautifully ...
The making of the (in)famous feet
The worktop needed a lot of wood (they always seem to need more than you think) and it just so happened that I had two very long roof joists that I had kept after having helped demolish an old building in the yard (yes, that is something else I got to keep if I could remove it). These two joists I thoroughly treated against rot and woodworm. They were then biscuit jointed, glued and bolted all the way through with threaded bar - incidentally also salvaged from The Olympic (is nothing safe from the hands of this Upcycler!) - sanded and finished with a few coats of Danish Oil (same as the feet).
From gnarly old roof joists to beautiful oiled worktop ... The evolution of salvaged wood
For some finishing touches I used more threaded bar the length of the table between the feet inside the decorational copper tube, and another small piece where the winch's original brake was attached. Bearings were polished and old grease nipples painted gold to match.
Overall, I was very happy with the final look of this table. By some happy coincidence, the size came out at 120x60 which is standard kitchen worktop height, so that was even better than I might have hoped for. And as with many of our pieces, the table has a wonderful history and wears that history still in the beautiful colours and textures of the finish.
The only downside, if you can call it that, is the weight. There can be no doubt as to the authenticity of its original function because Man, is this thing heavy! After completion at the workshop, I transported to our place at Crafthole ... That is to say, I and 3 other willing accomplices transported it to Crafthole on the back of the Old Rope Salvage truck. We eventually manoevered it into storage where it will undoubtedly remain now until sold, and for sale it is, in our Shop of Wonders, for £750.00 ... Please contact us to arrange a viewing.
Delivery/Collection can be discussed!
Old Rope Salvage