Harvest table from Dillinger Distillery

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Project by oldwoodsale posted 03-31-2014 12:11 AM 3838 views 4 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The end of a long road has culminated in this heavy, very shiny, Harvest Table. A few years ago we lost our lease for the building we were renting so we went out and found a facility much larger than we needed but it would work. It was originally built as the Dillinger and Sons Distillery in Ruffs dale, PA. Construction was started in 1885. No information as to when it was completed but it seems like it was built quickly and after Prohibition, it declined quickly.  photo postcardbackofbuilding_zpsb1ec5eea.jpg

The only intact building that is left is one 10,000sq ft whiskey ageing house. An old post card states that it had the capacity to hold 50,000 barrels. You can see the peak of this warehouse on the extreme right of this old post card.

By the time we took over in 2006 there was no sign of whiskey left. But this one building, built from this era, does contain 70,000 bf of old growth oak, and many more thousands of board ft of hemlock, and pine. Due the age and condition of the structure, it is best to raise the building, but not before reclaiming all this nice wood.

The wood beams get progressively larger as you get to the lower floors

These hemlock beams were removed from the roof. There were just enough of them to make the table as a good portion of it had to be trimmed due to water damage.
The old square nails and tight grain of this wood dates it to the very early days of the distillery.

We selected the wide planks with a mix of patina and targeted a 96inch length for the table.

The skirt, will be secured with metal corner brackets.

Used Minwax Natural Stain on all of the wood. It was amazing to see the color pop
Used large size biscuits to join the table planks
Table top after trimming and stain
Nice texture
Applying the finish is where I really had to go to school. I used LumberJocks several times to assist in debugging finishing problems. I was/am very thankful for this help! This was the first of about 6 to 9 coats of epoxy and Spar Urethane. Which were sanded MANY times and polished to a glossy shine.
2000 grit sanded surface prior to polish. To get from the previous photograph to this one I am skipping about three months of time dealing with air bubble, and problems with orange peel.

After a couple rounds of polish

The final table

Many times I see “antique wood” furniture from old barns or some other source but none of the history is mentioned. The history really adds to the piece, so we designed a hand made etched copper plaque, The plaque is also signed and dated on the back. Each table we make will have a serial number and will be in logged in our photo data base.

I hoped you enjoyed this project. Thank you to the LumberJocks community for the assistance you have given me on this project.

14 comments so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30587 posts in 3314 days

#1 posted 03-31-2014 01:18 AM

Thanks for sharing the story. Awesome work.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View niftynoel's profile


108 posts in 2522 days

#2 posted 03-31-2014 02:09 AM

This is great documentation, and very nice photographs. I went to Google maps to see where you’re located. The Google van just drove through town on Mt. Pleasant Road, but I was able to see the building to the north and the stack is obvious. (It looks like the second stack is no longer there. The table is really nice – I’ll be curious to see how the tables change over time. Just guessing you’ll branch out. Thank you for showing us. Fantastik.

-- Noel

View jasonallen's profile


202 posts in 2597 days

#3 posted 03-31-2014 02:11 AM

That is awesome. And the plaque is awesome too!

-- Skill and confidence are an unconquered army.

View Josh's profile


1234 posts in 3545 days

#4 posted 03-31-2014 02:39 AM

Wow, I love that table! And for all the right reasons, too! BTW, where is Ruffsdale? I spent the first 30some years of my life in PA but never heard of Ruffsdale. Hmmmmm…..

-- Tree, wood, and box lover from Pennsylvania

View OldWrangler's profile


731 posts in 2571 days

#5 posted 03-31-2014 03:26 AM

The picture of the reclaimed lumber with it’s plethora of nails, send an icesickle down my spine just thinking about the planeing. I can see this would have been an expensive job with all the planer blades. What kind of wood is this and was it all rough cut?
Beautiful table, wood and workmanship.

-- I am going to go stand outside so if anyone asks about me, tell them I'M OUTSTANDING!

View RiaanK's profile


32 posts in 2795 days

#6 posted 03-31-2014 07:16 AM

That is one Beautiful table.

-- Riaan

View oldwoodsale's profile


21 posts in 3950 days

#7 posted 03-31-2014 09:49 AM

Thanks for the positive comments guys. To some of your questions,1) Ruffs Dale 15679 is about one hour to the south east of Pittsburgh. This area had several whiskey producers, the Dillingers and the Overholts. The Overholt is a actually a preserved facility and they have tours. That is located in nearby Scottdale PA. 2) The nails are time consuming. We have actually spent many hours figuring out special tools to pull them. They are brittle so many of them break off and you can’t grab them. We have developed several tools to get those snapped off ones out. The ones we miss, we saw through with our custom made Band Saw.

View MadeinMT's profile


292 posts in 3136 days

#8 posted 03-31-2014 02:21 PM

Beautiful table and thanks for explaining the steps along the way. I have a (much) smaller pile of barnwood I plan to make a sofa table from and your tale will help that effort.

70,000 BF of weathered oak? Holy cow.

-- Ron, Montana

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3843 days

#9 posted 03-31-2014 02:58 PM

Interesting story and very nice work.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View mcoyfrog's profile


4757 posts in 4570 days

#10 posted 03-31-2014 06:37 PM

WOW Thats amazing you did such a great job from beat up ole wood to fine dinning. The story is cool too, I think it will add tons of value to the piece. Thanks for sharing

-- Wood and Glass they kick (well you know) Have a great day - Dug

View woodchuckerNJ's profile


1446 posts in 2610 days

#11 posted 03-31-2014 11:47 PM

very nice history lesson, it does add to the beauty of the wood, like knowing someone’s inner beauty…
Maybe you can put together a packet with the images of the distillery warehouse that is delivered with the table.

Very cool the way you left the rough saw marks.. You say you had air bubble problems, was that after starting with the epoxy? Was there a change in temperature?

-- Jeff NJ

View BOOM_TOWN's profile


19 posts in 2803 days

#12 posted 03-31-2014 11:54 PM

awesome story, great documentation, great table.

View Mean_Dean's profile


7057 posts in 4123 days

#13 posted 04-01-2014 12:30 AM

I’m all for saving these historic old buildings. But if they can’t be saved, then I’m really glad that people like you are preserving the history of them by making furniture like your table. The plaques are a lovely way to help explain the history to whomever ends up owning the furniture.

Nice work!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 3540 days

#14 posted 04-01-2014 04:34 PM

gorgeous in so many ways

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

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