Crafted from 160-year-old Morton Bay Fig, this coffee table weighs 470kg. Measuring just over two meters long and just over one meter wide, it is a standard coffee table height of 450mm. With seven, custom fabricated, heavy-duty, castor wheels (that hold 200kg each), they are counter sunk to give a floating appearance. Also set into the underbelly is four meters of LED strip lighting, controlled by bluetooth. It has been carved with chainsaw and chisel and sanded perfectly smooth, following the curves of the natural growth rings.
It was then sculpted with fire in the traditional, and ancient, Japanese technique called ‘Shou Sugi Ban 焼杉板’ (or Yakisugi), which preserves the wood by charring it. The process involves charring the wood with flame, cooling it with water, brushing it with horse hair and finishing it with a water-based clear coat. The result is a jet-black, matte finish, that accentuates the natural grain. Depending on the angle of the light, the charred wood can take on a silver to purple facade.
The top is also charred, then sanded back with seven grades of sand paper and three coats of a boiling-hot blend of natural waxes and food grade mineral oils. These seep into the very fibres of the end grain leaving it smooth to the touch. These oils and waxes exceed FDA regulations for direct and indirect contact with food. Finally, every groove and fold in the grain is meticulously cleaned with medium pressure air to release any loose grain or wax.
Born circa 1860, this beautiful old tree was recently cut down in its prime by the city council. As we mourn the Moreton Bay Fig Tree’s recent loss in Sydney, we must resolve to preserve the little we have left in this city and that is the purpose of this piece. This giant crosscut was to be ground into dust, never to be seen or thought of again.
In honour of its life, this piece has been saved and lovingly crafted into an heirloom that will be remembered and admired and for many years to come.