Our latest “Constructed At The Junction” creation are these gorgeous mahogany top benches with antique cast iron legs. These of course were constructed right here at CJ entirely from materials salvaged by our deconstruction crew. We could not be happier with how they turned out and hope that you like them, too!
One of our favorite parts of creating these items in-house is being able to trace the life story of the materials back to their original, forgotten purpose and share that of history along with the workmanship. These benches have a particularly intriguing bit of Pittsburgh history that we hope you enjoy as much as the finished product.
CJ staff carpenter Tony was able to work some magic this time with a really spectacular salvaged find – solid old growth mahogany. The raw material stock came from doors reclaimed from the former St. Basil’s School in Carrick. Originally built in 1941, that building had sat vacant since 2003. The years wore heavy on much of the salvageable materials. After the initial dismay at finding nearly every single bit of glass in the leaded glass lites of the schoolroom doors long since smashed, our deconstruction crew eventually was able to uncover a hidden gem. While most of the doors were just veneered with mahogany, many were actually solid mahogany construction!
Once these doors were back at the warehouse, quick work was made for the next step of reuse. The doors were now disassembled so that the individual panels could be sanded and planed. From there, the raw planks were joined, sanded and stained to arrive at the final finished 63″L x 12 1/4″W x 1 1/2″ thick bench top. In the images below, you can still see the remaining tenons that were put in place when the doors were originally built. To fill the screw holes from the hinges, square nails were used that actually came from some salvaged flooring from the nearby St. Basil’s Church rectory.
And we haven’t even mentioned maybe the coolest part – the legs! These vintage cast iron bases definitely fit the part. The height is adjustable from about 10 1/2″ to 14″H via a rod held in place with a large bolt. They were made by Heywood Wakefield and were a commonly found piece of early 20th century school desks. In fact, we’ve discovered that a few folding bench seats that were salvaged from a separate deconstruction job were made by the same Boston-based company.
Hope you enjoyed this bit of reuse in action. Make sure to check out the inventory listing for these fantastic benches over on our Featured Inventory page for current availability.
Thank you for supporting reuse!