The Weight Is a Gift: Custom Industrial Table, ca. 1900s/1930s

At Dorset Finds, we like a table. No surprises there. But a hefty, solid work table we love all the more…

Exploring the boundaries within this realm, it was decided that a heavy-duty workbench would be constructed out of salvaged pieces: a set of 90-pound, cast-iron lathe machine legs paired with a 2.25-inch-thick, 1930s work tabletop. Neither item was embraced with joy when negotiating the transportation to my third-floor walk-up. During the move, there may have been a curse or two hurled in the direction of the 30-year-dormant freight elevator, but the effort paid off.

Scale and proportion are always considerations when undertaking a project such as this. The finished piece needed to be dimensionally generous while also being manageable enough to place in any average living space.

After a thorough cleaning and light sanding, the true character of the timber surface was revealed. Scratches, crude saw cuts and paint stains mark its history beautifully. Therefore, plans were abandoned to strip the item down to bare wood. Instead, three layers of clear-coat were applied, preserving each flaw and blemish.

Heavily distressed, the patina of the green iron legs mirror the war wounds of the workbench’s surface. Once again, the imperfections were entombed rather than being sanded away. The marriage of the iron legs to the wood top has resurrected the table, now ready to host many decades of meals, conversations… and perhaps one or two backaches.

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