Uniquely Tasmanian: a rare opportunity to combine beauty with industrial.
This is the story of how the daughter of a Tasmanian boat builder and the Great-Grand son of a Victorian Wharfy collaborated to create a one of a kind Timber Island bench-top and a truly unique coffee table to complement it. Using one of the most rarest and beautiful timbers so exclusive to Tasmania that it only grows on a small area of coastline in the southwest region. Even rarer now as it is only sourced and salvaged from submerged logs.
Huon is highly prized for its golden yellow colour, fine grain, and natural oils that resist rotting. Hence it has long been used in the boat industry due to these natural features.
Clients Linda and Louise originally were referred to Durwin to create an island bench in their new kitchen. Louise, who grew up in Tasmania and whose father was a boat builder were able to source the Huon and have it brought to Melbourne. The original brief was to keep as much of the ‘live edge’ as possible, as well as creating a curve to one side to compliment the curved wall opposing the bench. In doing so, it meant there was to be a generous off-cut.
Knowing its value and history, the off-cut was returned to Linda and Louise when the bench was installed, upon which they asked Durwin,
“What would you do with the off-cut if you had the chance?”
“I’d make a coffee table.” He replied
“Would you then?” they asked.
Knowing he was about to take delivery of a Heidelberg Paten Press later the same day, salvaged from it’s date with the scrap yard, Durwin was confident he could re-purpose some of the press to create a table that would both compliment and contrast the beautiful Huon Pine. This would also pay homage to Linda who is a writer.
Once selecting the parts to be used and deciding on where the Huon was to be positioned on it’s recycled base, one or two parts had to be fabricated from scratch to add to the press to make this possible.
A type of clamp that would hold the Huon securely in a huge cantilever and to just one point of the press base, it also had to work as a swivel so that access was given to its base. Hand made from a solid block of Aluminum the two part clamping; cantilevering swivel was turned on a lathe and accurately drilled and tapped to create an engineering piece that is ultimately easy to overlook in the final product. Its function however, is not.
“Given the opportunity to work with Huon Pine is both a rarity, and honour. To be trusted with such a large piece of Huon and then given full creative freedom with it, that is a true gift. To re-purpose some industrial equipment along with the Huon, well that just embodies what I am about and an experience I will never forget.” Says Durwin.