Trees removed from Booth's Bowery three years ago in Port Orange became ornate conference tables thanks to John Carleton, Jon Day and John Fawcett.
Historic trees that were cut down to build the Cumberland Farms gas station at the corner of Nova and Herbert avenues have been transformed into works of art, thanks to the foresight and talents of three wood workers and the cooperation of the city of Port Orange.
John Carleton, Jon Day and John Fawcett, all members of Volusia County Woodworkers Association, took slabs of wood from live oak trees removed from the former Booth’s Bowery site and created a process for making the extremely hard wood into tables.
The lumber had been sent to Geneva, Florida, to be cut into boards, then returned and stacked at the Public Works facility in Port Orange for almost three years. Carleton and Fawcett talked with Jake Johansson, Port Orange city manger, about using the wood for a project. Johansson was supportive.
Creating the tables was a pioneer project for the wood workers.
“The process is very labor intensive,” Fawcett said. “Once the machine is done, then the labor starts.”
The three men have over 270 hours of work in creating one table.
The table being made for Port Orange will have three sections glued and bolted together. It will weigh approximately 1,000 pounds and be at least 10 feet long.
One of the tables was shipped to Cumberland Farms headquarters in Maine, where it occupies a conference room. That table has a 1939 silver dollar embedded in it, the date Cumberland Farms was founded.
Day is a retired computer expert who has taken up furniture making. He has a workshop and mill in Ormond Beach where a machine called a computer numerical control router can be programmed to carve the wood slabs into necessary dimensions needed to make the tables. It is the only machine in the area capable of handling the size of each project, he said.
Fawcett is a retired industrial arts teacher who taught woodworking for 30 years. He is the ambassador of the trio.
Fawcett said no cash has ever been exchanged in making the tables. It has all been through donations, trades and gifts that the creations have been supported. Fawcett has been key in getting the needed supplies.
Carleton is the wood carver of the group. A retired law enforcement officer and fire and EMS responder for the city of Port Orange, Carleton is in charge of the ornamentation.
His skill as a wood carver further bring the tables to life with his artistic renderings of various people, places and things.
Carleton plans possibly to carve a wood spirit into one of the legs but is also considering other things, such as a soldier, to be included. Some place on the table, the seal of Port Orange will be carved.
Carleton’s wife asked him why he was doing this (project).
“Because I worked for the city for 34 years,” Carleton said. “I live in the city. It is my home.”
The wood slabs were brought to Day’s workshop and stacked in a kiln designed to dry the wood. When the wood is taken out of the kiln, it is put on the CNC to determine how much warp is in it. Once the wood is softened enough to make flat, steel frames are bolted to the underside of the wood to give support.
Once flat, the wood undergoes multiple sandings and epoxy finishes to make the tables smooth.
One of the challenges for the Port Orange table is to figure out how it will get it to City Hall and be assembled.
The two Johns and one Jon are resourceful, however. They said they will figure it out, and the city of Port Orange will reap the benefit.