During the winter of 2021, I built 41 dining tables, desks and 23 coffee tables. I will be making more limited editions of tables.
The idea behind building the tables had existed in my mind for years, that I would one day build beautiful dining and boardroom tables from hardwood lumber I had milled from the forest on my property. When Covid arrived in 2020, I decided to do the Forest Table project.
I have a long career as an award-winning documentary filmmaker, photographer, and visual artist. In wood, I have produced a series of pieces from trees called TREE ART. I am a volunteer community activist for the environment and a renewable energy developer.
Black River Maple Products is a commercial maple syrup operation in part of my forest since 1985. Our syrup has a great customer loyalty, and is highly regarded and even awarded, Maple Products | Black River
The Forest Table Team
-The table production was assisted part-time by Matthew Dicks, and my son Geoffrey Livingston.
-Expert assistance and advice came from master woodworkers Stephan Heim, Mark Willson and Brian Peters.
- Steve Leblanc - “Essence of Wood” in Halifax, with his staff sanded, cut to size, and edged the tables.
-Kathy McIntyre, my main assistant in maple syrup making, assisted me with the 3 coats of non-toxic hardwood oil finish on the tables, made by Eco-House in New Brunswick.
-Mark DeBaie, did the regular early morning visit to load the woodstove at the workshop.
-In late 2021, the studio will be outfitted with new professional woodworking equipment, so that future table editions can be done all in house.
Forestry In Nova Scotia
The other impetus behind Forest Table is that for years I have tried to figure out how to receive any decent value when we selection cut wood out of my forest. Unfortunately, clearcutting is about 95% of cutting in Nova Scotia.
Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are 25 years or more behind the times in forestry reform in Canada, for cutting practices and for what is paid to small woodlot owners. If I was in Quebec or Ontario, I would be able to sell a few logs a year and get paid very well for them.
After 40 years as a woodlot owner and operator, having tried almost every other option from selling logs to lumber, I came to realize that the only way to realize proper value from my forest is to make a high-value product. I believe making and marketing these Forest Tables is a part of reforming forestry practices in Nova Scotia.
The 2021 edition of FOREST TABLES are all Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified.
I decided as an artist to expand my repertoire, by building these tables like an edition of artwork, rather than as a commercial furniture production house.
The tables are beautiful and unique. Half of the tables are more or less matched and could be sold to one client for a restaurant or are perfect to be sold individually. The other tables, some of which are desks, are higher valued, and have incredibly beautiful wood patterns in them, are bespoke, unique, and will not be found elsewhere.
As far as I can tell, there is no one in North America who is harvesting their own lumber and then building tables for sale.
We only selection cut, using eco-forestry principles and common sense, to preserve the diverse ecosystem of the forest. In 2008 the Province of Nova Scotia awarded me as the Eastern Counties Woodlot Owner of The Year, and in 2021 I have been nominated again.