Los Angeles

Croft House Guest Post

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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

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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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