Tom Walton, Dining Table (Student Awards 2018)

When I was seven, I helped my grandfather cut down some grey gums and mill them into timber for his farmhouse. The leftover offcuts were put in his shed because “they might just come in handy one day…” Ten years later I was looking for a challenging HSC project. The timber in the shed was covered in dirt and spiderwebs. It looked like it was only good for firewood. I cautiously planed down a test piece to reveal some truly beautiful native timber. My dad and I built a router-sled in the shed and began to mill the thick slabs down to size. The old gum was so hard that I often thought I could submit it as both a woodwork and a metalwork project. The framing timber was run through the thicknesser and I set to work with handsaw and chisel, under the watchful eye of my teacher Mr Mannweiler, to create the table base. I joined the two slabs and filled the holes with epoxy. Many hours of sanding and hand polishing has resulted in a table that I am really proud of. My Grandad keeps reminding me of how clever he was to put that timber aside. Year 12, Lambton High School, NSW. Teacher: Mr Chris Mannweiler