By ROBYN BRISTOW
A small part of a stand of oaks east of Rangiora, felled on private property to make the Rangiora-Woodend cycleway safer, live on.
Nick Gyde, whose woodworking skills were reignited when gifted a large oak stump from the property, has turned a couple of slabs into a stunning table.
Nick had been pondering whether he would be cheeky enough to ask if he could buy some of the timber from the trees.
He was humbled when the owners were “lovely enough” to give him a giant oak stump further down the property.
“I was then faced with two options. Get a sawmiller out and see if they could transport it away and cut it up, or do a job myself with dad’s chainsaw.”
He chose the latter, and set to work on cutting slabs, destroying his father’s chainsaw in the process.
But after a week he had managed to salvage eight slabs, two metres long, from the stump, that had been sitting for six months.
“It was a heck of a process. I worked flat out to cut and slab it on site,” he says.
Friends and family helped transport the slabs to his parents’ lifestyle property at Okuku, where Nick built a storage facility to dry them and a shed to work in.
Eight months later, he began work.
“It was the first time I had worked on a table. It was all done using hand tools because I don’t own any big tools, aside from an orbital sander.”
Six weeks later his masterpiece was finished.
“There was a lot of learning that went into it. There were some dozey parts and weaker parts that I had to remove and use resin.
“I knew what I wanted to do, but had never done it before. I found people around
Christchurch who had used resin.
“It was a very interesting experience. A couple of times things ended in failures and I had to cut them out, and start again.”
Nick used two slabs to make the piece one cut in half for legs, and one for the top. The slabs were 80mm thick and he ended up getting an engineer to help attach the legs with steel brackets hidden to strengthen them.
“I am going to keep it,” Nick says of the finished piece. “It is the first piece this size I have ever made.
“It is absolutely stunning,” he says.
The remaining slabs are being left to dry, and Nick says he will be looking to make a couple more resin dining room tables because he loves how his first attempt turned out.
He would like to make one for his parents as a thank-you.
“They were sick of the dust I was creating. It was everywhere,” he says.
Nick has also crafted walking sticks, one of which has gone to his grandmother.
He works with whatever he finds on walks in the bush from felled trees and from windblown timber.
Nick says the only drawback to crafting anything big is he no longer has access to his parent’s garage because it’s now filled up with his father’s gear.
“I might have to build a second shed.”