For many years, my wife and I have wanted to get a harvest table. Between cooking, eating, and home school we spend a lot of time as a family around a table. Philosophically as well as practically, the central organizing role of a well-made table is important to the functioning of our family.
There are literally hundreds if not thousands of options available. We've spent lots of time going to look at them, and been on the verge of buying one a few times. However, every time we found one, it came with compromises: the length or width was wrong, the legs meant chairs couldn't be be pushed in, the skirt was so low you couldn't cross your legs. It became clear that we'd need to have something made.
We live near one of the larger populations of Mennonites in Ontario, and some of the best harvest tables we've seen come from their workshops. But which one? My wife, as is often (always?) the case, managed to solve this and found a small shop near here that seemed to have promise.
HD Threshing builds harvest tables by hand in the style we wanted out of reclaimed Ontario barn boards and beams. Their tables are made of Pine or Hemlock (we chose the latter), because that's what the barns were made of a hundred+ years ago. Living in rural Ontario, I loved the fact that the table was not only made here, but made of wood that had been part of the landscape as well. Their process involves sanding, but no planing of the wood, leaving all the centuries old weathering and character of the wood in tact. Rather than staining or painting with a color, they choose instead to use an epoxy finish, in order to give an indestructible finish, while still allowing the wood to show through. It creates a surface you feel compelled to touch--even though you know it's smooth, you can't believe it to look at the distressing and character of the wood.
HD Threshing is a small shop run by a group of passionate, young guys. The owner toured us through the shop, showing us all the different things we could have, and helping us understand what the end product would look like. We were able to choose every aspect of what we got. I loved everything about the process and the end product.
Here's some pictures of our new harvest table: