In August 2016 we custom built 3 farmhouse style tables for our local Moore County Health Foundation fundraiser. Two 6 foot long tables and one 8 foot long table. They were a hit! This is still one of my favorite projects and I know this is Bubba’s #1 favorite. He would build tables and furniture all day long.
At the suggestion of my sister Kathryn, using reclaimed wood from a farm would be an amazing addition to their annual fundraiser. We tossed around several ideas and finally decided to see about using material from a local farmhouse, Crawford Ranch. Crawford Ranch on highway 287 is a well-known iconic location not far from the panhandle town of Dumas, TX. The original homestead was built in 1899 and in the last 5 to 10 years the buildings have really started to lean and fall down.
So, we got to work, tracking down phone numbers from friends of friends to try and reach the owners of the ranch (small town life!) and we asked for special permission to go on this privately owned farm. After receiving a very gracious YES to our request, we made several trips out to the ranch to look for wood. Good salvageable wood was not easy to come by. The wood was mostly warped and damaged from 117 years of the panhandle weather. On the 3rd trip out we harvested wall boards, original wood flooring and a few trim pieces.
The falling down structure and open floor boards seemed to be the home to lots and lots of rabbits. We were expecting snakes and well prepared for them but instead found dozens of rabbits. Not one snake, thankfully. The friendly panhandle cows that surround the homestead were coming to greet us in loud mooing fashion. In large numbers, they can seem a bit pushy but they are really just curious beings. The old house had been fenced in the last 10 years to keep the herd from knocking down the structure. Of course, nature seemed to be taking care of that on its own.
After we had gathered all the wood we needed from this once beautiful farm, Bubba worked hard to plane and sand the boards down into usable wood. Years of dirt and wear did not come clean easily. The layers of dark dust that coated our shop was different from the normal saw dust. The wood was extra hard and well worn. We salvaged enough wood to make the table tops and the finished wood was absolutely gorgeous! We didn’t want to cover the gorgeous grain, original nail holes and weathered history. So to preserve that we finished the top with tongue oil.
The bases were built out of new cedar 4x4s and left original. One of the tables we painted the cedar black to contrast the natural top.
The final result turned out perfect. And I even had enough wood left over to make this gorgeous planter box.
The tables were all auctioned off and raised several thousand dollars for our local health foundation. My mother was one of the winning bidders and I love that I get to decorate this table each season for years to come.