Devon Furniture Makers

Tribute to a Beech Tree - David Ames

Trees are beautiful and it’s a wonderful thing when a forest of native English trees surrounds your home, so when a major beech in their woods was toppled in high winds Jakki and Sheila decided the tree deserved a second life.  

A beautiful beech forest in North Devon

They found a mobile milling company and came to me to find out how the tree should be planked and stored.  I suggested it should be put into stick, with the ends sealed to avoid the boards splitting, and to store it under a roof, which would allow the timber to air dry for a few years.  

They very kindly said that I would be making something from the beech when it was ready, so after three years of air-drying in an open shed we then had the timber kiln dried, planed and delivered to my workshop.  

Planked and air dried beech wood ready to go to David Ames workshop

Jakki and Sheila wanted a dining table that could be extended to seat up to 16 people but they didn’t want the usual fold away flaps or unwieldy extensions.  So I set about designing an everyday dining table to seat up to 10, with two console tables which would normally sit by the walls of the room and could be used to create extra length by gliding them into place at each end of the main table and seat 16-20 for special occasions.

Develping the natural curves of the table top - tree trunk and branch legs ready to assemble

Vew of the underside of the naturally formed beech dining table

Oiling the beech dining table top with natural plant oils

They wanted to reflect the natural surroundings and pay tribute to the old beech tree, so I decided to focus on the native trees around the house and developed an organic flowing table top supported by stylised tree trunks and branches.  We were excited to discover that once it was processed, the beech had some beautiful grain which I used to link the three table tops with great effect.

Here you can see the naturally curved join between beech dining table and beech console table

The beech dining table without its extensions


Beech Console Table that fits onto the end of the dining table

After installing the table(s), Jakki and Sheila asked me to use the remainder of the beech to design and make a sideboard which would complement the dining tables and complete room which is also decorated with some specially commissioned stunning artwork depicting their woods through the seasons.

A beech sideboard that complements the natural curves of the extending dining table

This was a challenging project and the investment in time was considerable, but it was an honour to be given the opportunity to design and develop such a unique suite of beech dining furniture.  I know the clients are supremely happy with the result!

David designs and makes bespoke furniture at his North Devon workshop.  Check out his website to see more of David's work or, if you have a special project in mind that you would like to discuss with David, you can get in touch with him by email





Posted on 30.05.17