When we came to New York City in 1976, we were pretty broke, a classic “starving-artist-and-family” situation. We had wonderful friends who helped us get a really nice apartment, but we needed to furnish it – cheaply!
Buying furniture was not an option, so we came up with the simplest, most basic solution we could for our initial seating arrangement, and sketched it: a bench made of beams and planks that would be self-supporting – no need to buy even fasteners! (We did have to buy a handsaw.) So, four sections of 12 x 12” beam, and two 2 x 12” planks, six feet in length, did the trick. We rounded off the edges and corners of the planks and sanded and polyurethaned them to make the seat. A few inexpensive pillows later, we had a living room “sofa.”
That was the first time we made furniture. The two planks are still in use: they were “up-cycled” as the top of low table that to this day is used for our television and stereo.
We went on to build a dining room table with the same neo-50s look; our concept there was to have a table so heavy-weight that I could stand on its edge and it would support my 160 pounds without tipping. It worked, and is still working today as our big kitchen table. Most of our other projects in this style were bookshelves, also still in use.
We found that we really loved to make things rather than buy them, and when the prospect of utilizing the “dockwood” we later discovered on our little beach occured, the impetus was already there.