Tea Table

We were furniture makers, one fine winter's day,
Committed to build a small table for tea,
Lumber selected and promptly squared away,
Hand-picked boards from a black walnut tree,

Walnut chosen for it's warm gentle grain,
Burnt umber hues ran down to it's core,
Dark curly ribbons slipped thru the plane,
Thin coloured shavings tumbled to the floor,

With timber milled straight, square and true,
Components etched out with fresh pencil lead,
Carefully cutting along graphite lines drew,
Our parts slowly appear as material is shed,

Mortise cut deep in solid walnut blanks,
As we carved with care in treasured stock,
Whittling away at those hardwood planks,
Our pieces took shape, while we casually talk,

Rasps drawn across gentle contour curves,
Toning and shaping slender graceful limbs,
As four cabriole legs slowly emerge,
With slipper feet sculpted, finished and trim,

We turned our attention to dressing the rails,
Carving a bead along it's bare bold face,
Edges rounded over completes this reveal,
An intimate abrasion that simply adds grace,

Trial assembly is where patience prevails,
Refining smooth faces to align them just right,
Burnished legs fitted to dark custom rails,
Finessing each joint until they fit clean and tight,

Held tight in the bench-vise, in my warm cozy shop,
A thick walnut plank, dark, rugged and crude,
Re-sawed in thickness for the book-matched top,
Edges planed true then it's fitted and glued,

Tapered crown moulding was next to prepare,
Fashioned by hand from a single long board,
Scrapers were used to achieve concave flares,
Symmetrical curved lines, a pleasing reward,

Assembly began the very next day,
Mitred joints glued and clamped firmly tight,
Soft damp clothes wiped squeeze out away,
Then we set it aside to cure overnight,

Finishing with Tung oil, rubbing as it flows,
Carefully we polish our precious masterpiece,
Richly enhancing those warm umber tones,
Protecting for years this small furniture piece,

This hand-crafted table now resides in your home,
Built from the wood of that fine walnut tree,
If you're sitting quietly sipping tea all alone,
Think of the time spent building it with me.

by Jim Holmes

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