Croft House Box to Bonhams


Like I mentioned in the earlier post about my coffee table, I have a lot of Macallan cask wood.  It didn’t take me long to do something else with it!  A friend had a set of the 1950, 1955 and 1957 Lalique bottles from Macallan that he planned to send to Bonhams in Hong Kong for auction.

The Lalique Collection is the result of a very close relationship between the two companies and will continue over the next few years to be 6 bottles in total, housing some of the rarest and finest liquid The Macallan has to offer. This is a key point – there’s a lot of old whisky out there and anyone that knows their stuff will attest to the fact that some of it is, frankly, crap.  When it got old it got nasty, but some distilleries still sell it for mammoth amounts of money knowing it will likely never be drunk.

However, some liquid out there carefully followed Demi Moore’s plan of attack (minus the drug addiction bit...she get's a pass on that one) and got better and better and better with age. I’ll attest that the Lalique bottles are full of Demi Moore Whisky. I know this thanks to a drunken night in the tasting room at the distillery... I’m probably not supposed to share that.

Sorry, back on track, I love lamp.

The trouble with auctioning them all together is that they are in 3 separate boxes, and that’s just…well…it just didn’t seem right to sell as a collection in loose boxes, so I decided we should make a chest out of cask wood.  My friend is usually the instigator of these projects, so he didn't take any convincing.

Croft House stepped up again and all it took to make a great chest was a few sketches, a lot of inspiration images and a pretty clear idea on the hardware I wanted to use - think “upscale pirate fodder”. The collection, after authentication by Macallan, snagged a 3 page spread in the Bonham’s catalogue and was picked up by worldwide liquor press.  Oh, and yeah, it sold for a stack of money. Result.

ETCHING - trust me, keep your volume down...

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Croft House Guest Post

Croftbar 001

As a big fan of the hard work and creativity that Croft House are putting into building their furniture empire, I asked Alex and his partner Riley if they would give me a little insight into their thoughts when I showed up with a bottle of Macallan 18 and a Mini Cooper full of whisky barrel.... Alex:

A few months back Neil came to Riley and I asking us if we had any interest in building a coffee table with wood salvaged from a whisky barrel that was used at the Macallan distillery. He really admired our work and we really admired whiskey, so we set right to it in an attempt to work something out.

Neil dropped by the Croft House showroom and left us with a heap of beautiful oak, the only problem being the oak had the same curvature as the cask, not really an ideal coffee table surface .  We knew we were going to incorporate the lid of the cask, but weren't sure how exactly to utilize the sides of the barrel.  Over a couple of drinks(scotch no doubt) we came up with our ideal design, placing the wood within a steel frame.

Oak isn't exactly the most malleable material, so bending the curved sides to the cask was out. Instead, we put each piece to our bandsaw, essentially skinning the wood of it's outermost surface.  Once slimmed down to a lesser thickness, the wood became much more flexible and allowed us to mold it to a flat surface.  We added a natural wax finish and wa la.  

All of our Croft House pieces are built with wood that has a story, but few stories have been as popular with our patrons as the cask pieces.  The material is a lot of fun to work with and has a killer look to it, only downside is having to tell everyone it's not for sale.

Thanks a lot Alex - now finish my Eames chair! :)[gallery link="file" columns="4" orderby="rand"]

Croft House Macallan Table


Croft House Table

Somewhere hidden in a storage unit, I have all the parts for a 1934 Ford Pickup Hot Rod. It has all the promise of being a wickedly cool rat rod, but none of the love to get it there. Back when the project was fresh in our minds, it was going to be a true old school moonshine runner. I enlisted the help of the team at The Macallan back in Scotland and by some form of black magic, they sent me an entire shipping crate of used whisky barrel staves.

Side note: Unwrapping the crate gave a smell I’ll never forget – it made our whole warehouse smell like glorious 18 year old Macallan for about a week. Ridiculous.

Well…the rod is still on hold and there was a LOT of wood, so it was only natural that I’d ponder another kind of project for some of it. Enter our new house and the large area where a coffee table should be.

My wife was searching on craigslist for reclaimed wood furniture at that point in time and found a couple of guys in LA making some gorgeous pieces at really reasonable prices.  I called them and found out they were growing to become the store that is now Croft House on La Brea in LA.  Riley, one of the owners was intrigued by the inherently bent barrel wood and was sold on the project once he heard it was from a whisky barrel – The gang at Croft House have a soft spot for the wonderful stuff – see their in store bar. His vision and mine were identical. We sketched a lot, piled wood all over the place in patterns and finally decided on a plan.

Fast-forward to the results below. I was blown away. Everything I hoped in my head was achieved; I wanted it to be a mix of the clean smooth cask end and the incredibly rough (but now straight!) cask staves. The finish is a simple wax and when I inevitably scratch or ding the table, I just wax over it. Perfect.

More Croft House projects to come…we had fun.

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