Every so often Woodchucks (the Woodstock locals) like to embark on a town project. This year we've been doing a lot of good thinking about ways to make our town and its economy sustainable; isolated to an extent from the ups and downs of the rest of the world. Our friend and neighbor Charlie Shackleton came up with a brilliant idea of building tables from solid Vermont sugar maple harvested sustainably from our local forests. His vision of sustainability focussed on a kitchen table that would be the center of many home activities, sturdy enough to be passed down from generation to generation. Earlier this year, Charlie contacted his friend and neighbor Pat, the State Forester for assistance locating the required timber. As it turned out, Pat's friend and neighbor Harold had several hundred prime maple trees nearing the peak of their production, more than enough to build a first batch of tables. As luck would have it, Harold's friend and neighbor Jared was cutting firewood in a nearby woodlot and offered to fell the trees for the project. Jared's friend Mark runs a trucking operation and volunteered to haul the logs to Mark's friend and neighbor Doug who owns a sawmill. Doug debarked and ripped the logs and delivered them to his neighbor Harry who was able to squeeze them into his kiln (no time to let them air dry). While they were drying, Kevin O'Connor heard about the project and offered to mill the logs and create all legs, skirts, and tops necessary for an initial run of 50 tables. Kevin and his family worked through several days and nights to get all the parts necessary for the project. Kevin and his wife Jane have a friend and neighbor Edwin who started a Vermont company that makes high quality natural wood finishing products out of locally derived dairy by-products (especially whey). When Edwin heard about the town project, he immediately volunteered to donate enough Vermont-made wood finish to protect the tables from the ravages of country life. Last month, we completed the town project by gathering in Charlie's workshop to assemble and finish our individual tables. The next day, all the builders and their friends enjoyed a hearty banquet with 50 tables stretched end to end across the Woodstock Covered Bridge. With the help of Pat the Forester, each participant in the project tagged a young maple sapling in Harold's woodlot and was photographed holding a sign bearing the precise GPS coordinates of "their" tree -- so that the next generation of Woodchucks will be able to locate their family maple tree in another 80 years when it is ready for harvest. And that, dear friends, is the saga of the Woodstock Naked Table Project.
Click here to learn more about the activities of Sustainable Woodstock.