A Treasure Hidden in Plain Sight

blog_breakfast_openerWinterthur is one of my favorite places to go whether it is spring, summer or fall. (Who am I kidding? I love to go there in the winter too!) Wandering about the grounds is nearly as satisfying for a furniture hound like me as roaming the halls of the museum itself. Not that I ever expected to see a piece of furniture outside the building that I liked, let alone wanted to make. But that’s exactly what happened.

A little more than three years ago my wife suffered a heart attack (it’s in her genes, but she’s recovered and doing well now). Once she was released from the hospital she was given the advice to start walking – a little at first and gradually build up to longer walks. Tomorrow marks the third anniversary of our first walk outside our own neighborhood. And it took place at Winterthur.

It was a Monday and the museum was closed, but we wanted someplace fairly easy to walk around that was still worth the effort. As woodworkers we seldom ever look outside a museum, but Winterthur is one of those places that just grabs you. The grounds and gardens are spectacular. We had to go.

As we wandered the deserted grounds we came upon a shady spot near the reflecting pool. There are lots of places to sit adjacent to the pool, but we had stumbled on a little nook just around the corner. To our surprise we found a few wooden chairs and a very interesting drop-leaf table. It wasn’t interesting because it was a masterpiece of joinery or design, it was merely a piece with good proportions that had a quirky feature that caught out eye. The gates that swung out to support the leaves had shelves that rotated out of the way when the table was collapsed.

The tabletop and shelves were made up of slats that had spaces between. Clearly this was a table meant to be out of doors. Living in the modern age, I instantly pulled out my phone and snapped a few shots of the table knowing that it would end up on my “to do” list.

Now, I can say it is on my “done” list. And, for all you museum rats, take a little time occasionally to get outside and check out the surroundings: There’s no telling what you might find.

This week’s article for 360 WoodWorking members walks through the process of building this neat little outdoor oddity. If you’re a member, login and click here to read the entire article. If you’re not a member, what are you waiting for? Click here to join today!

— Chuck Bender

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