Saturday, January 24, 2015

To the Makers of Tables



Earlier this week I got an email from my brother-in-law, who owns a table-making business, wondering if I would consider writing a poem for their Christmas Party. He sent me a rough draft of the different steps from tree to table and I replied that I would love to and thank-you for ample notice and information. Soon there was a BIG lol(laughter out loud!!;) saying their Christmas Party is on Friday night;-0 Okay, I replied, pray? and I will try. I was invited to take a tour through their business to see what they do. As of now they build the tables to the point of needing the finish/color etc... This spring they are excited to open a new wing and be able to offer retailers a complete, finished table. I found the process quite interesting and made me realize anew the big role of 'the little man'...Their tables are available at retailers Canada-wide only.

From rough planks through a variety of saws and sanders and a lot of hands on work...






a glimpse of the table-making process...click on images to enlarge


Already, in the Garden of Eden God knew
The uses of timber would be many, but few
Would gather people together and be able
To make them feel at home, like a dinner table.

To the Maker of Tables...

He earns his living by the sweat of his brow
He’s suffered mosquito -swarms thick as snow
Fly-ridden, sun-smitten, frost-bitten, still
He fells the timber that covers the hill
Mindful of danger, for the logger knows
How many a life has been crushed by the blows
Of crashing timber; thus, a sacred respect
Threads the sinew of back, arms and neck
Still, the lumber-jack smiles and says, it is good
To work near the heart of God with wood

From the heart of timberland to piles by the road
Each log is dragged, and then load after load
Down treacherous steep to the foot of the hill
The trucker delivers his load to the mill
Where the saws are ready and the timber is sweet
And the air charged with screams as steel and wood meet
Then the roundness of trunk becomes flatness of planks
That are sorted and graded and piled by swift hands
And the mill-worker whistles as timber is sawed
Sensing a kinship twixt man, wood and God

The boards are taken to the kiln to dry
Re-graded, piled on lifts for wholesalers to buy
There the artist of oak, maple, cherry or pine
Selects the right wood for specific design
From warehouse to manufacturer streams
Plank after plank to saw-dust flavored dreams
Where each piece is inspected for knots, cracks and such
Ready for the love of a table-maker’s touch
He warms at a vision; this soldier of wood
Pictures families at dinner and prays, it is good


Wood-workers glue boards into panels to sand
Timber is like putty in their strong-steady hands
They find the right thickness, the right shapes and sizes
Working-class heroes no one recognizes
Detailing leaf pins that fit, slick as air
Where someone drilled holes into planks with great care
No cavalcade waves banners; no crowd claps and cheers
Because Henry ran a belt-sander for fifteen years
But Henry is thankful and bows his head
And thanks God for wood and daily bread

…add trim, profile edges and sand once more
Then a last meticulous check-over before
The work-order followed to the very last ‘T’
Is ready for shipping; and what began as a tree
Is a piece of workmanship; there will be no fame
For these dusty craftsmen never mentioned by name
And it is the retailer who hears the delight
From prospective buyers needing something ‘just right’
For their homes; and they like how solid wood feels
Able to withstand generations of meals

He helps them choose the right color and style
And surely his mouth wears an ear-to-ear smile
As his mind forms pictures of fathers and mothers
Sisters and brothers and loggers and truckers
Skid-steer drivers, mill-hands, secretaries, sweepers
Painters, shop-hands, buyers and book-keepers
Working toward what began as a tree
And ends as a table where family
Gathers each night and bows their heads
To thank God for each other and daily bread

Already, in the Garden of Eden God knew
The uses of timber would be many, but few
Would gather people together and be able
To make them feel at home, like a dinner (dining-room) table.

Janet Martin

Seeing a shop full of dedicated workers gave me a new respect for what goes on inside a business; there really are no 'little jobs'. 

 This winter I hope to bring you a few more pictures and poems inspired by family members and what they do...stay tuned.

6 comments:

  1. You are blessed with the gift of words and encouragement - I am deeply touched by your poem, and I am sure, that everybody who hears this poem, will be:
    "No cavalcade waves banners; no crowd claps and cheers
    Because Henry ran a belt-sander for fifteen years
    But Henry is thankful and bows his head
    And thanks God for wood and daily bread"
    Wonderful!

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    1. Thank-you Nina, for high-lighting the heart of the message in this poem. God bless.

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  2. You did a beautiful job illustrating the importance of 'behind the scenes' workers. I also love how you talked about the value of a dinner table to a family. It's more than just a piece of furniture, isn't it? I'm sure your brother was so pleased ~ but not surprised ~ with your poem. Would be great to have it framed and hanging in his office :)

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    1. Hi Megan:) thank-you so much. He apologized for asking on short notice and I told him i loved the challenge and a totally different topic of writing although I have often pondered the attributes of a dinner-table...yes, it is more than furniture; sort of like the home's center-piece, isn't it?

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  3. Wonderful, Janet! I agree with Megan - well worthy of being framed and displayed with pride.

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    1. Thank-you, Sasha. It was so interesting to see in detail what they do. I'm mulling over the wooden hearth we gather at each day.
      I don't know if he'll frame the poem but I was glad to sense that he was very happy with it!

      I'm hoping to visit my cousin this week and show you what he does. It is REALLY something to see as well.

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Thank you always for your visit and your thoughts.