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Thread: Teddy Roosevelt table

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    New Hill, NC

    Teddy Roosevelt table

    A year or so back I was contacted by an individual that lived on Long Island, NY. He was in the process of moving from NY to NC, and had some slabs with a very special provenance that he was interested in having kiln dried. I have a farm based sawmill and kiln drying business in NC outside of Raleigh, hence his interest.

    He explained that his great uncle was Charles Wang, the founder of Computer Associates and a big fan of President Teddy Roosevelt. Charles Wang immigrated to the US when he was 8 years old, and like a lot of immigrants really believed in the fundamental premise of individual freedom and rights that the US was created from. Mr. Wang embodied the American Dream; working hard and ultimately become a billionaire.

    Wang built an estate on Long Island that bordered President Roosevelt's Sagamore Hill home. Teddy Roosevelt built Sagamore Hill and moved in with his family in 1887. It served as the "Summer White House" during his presidency, and was where he lived afterward until he passed away in 1919. Charles Wang was well known to the site manager and crew and was a frequent donor and supporter of the museum.

    Around 2015 Wang approached the site manager and enquired about what they were planning to do about the large copper beech tree that was dying on the estate. To which the site manager replied "what dying copper beech?" Turns out that they were unaware that one of the majestic 40" DBH trees that Roosevelt had planted was dying about 400' from the main house. The tree had lost a large upper limb in past wind storms, and had started dying and decaying from the mid point down.

    TR was a well known fan of copper beech trees, and it is well recorded that he planted many on the estate, including immediately adjacent to his home. Wang felt strongly that the logs from the dying tree should be preserved, and struck a deal to be able to retain the logs if he funded the removal of the dying tree and all of it's debris.

    The salvaged logs were transported next door to Wang's estate and stored in his landscaping service area. Unfortunately, not long thereafter he was diagnosed with lung cancer and died. Before he died, he asked his great nephew to become responsible for the logs, and to ensure that they were used in a manner that was appropriate for their provenance; to which the nephew agreed.

    The nephew arranged for an urban treecycling company to come to the estate and slab the logs, and then had them stacked and stickered under some canopy type shelters for air drying. The treecyling company ended up with some of the boule's, but the nephew kept two of them. A 36", 13' long section from where the broken limb was, and an 8' long, 40" diameter crescent shaped log from the bottom of the tree. After some discussions with us, he sent a truck down from NY with the boules, and we took charge of them, kiln drying the larger one and stickering the smaller one for continued air drying.

    We've sold a few slabs, and worked with the nephew to create a table from a bookmatched pair. We did the planing, glue up and sanding in-house, and the nephew arranged for a cabinet maker to build the legs and finish the slab.

    Here are some progress photo's of the project.

    Here is the dying tree at the start of the removal process:

    Tree before removal.JPG

    Same tree after limbing. TR's home is visible in the background.

    Tree with Roosevelts house in background.JPG

    The log that the slabs were milled from:

    Log onsite.jpg

    The bookmatched slabs that we selected for the table top, after using the Peterson swingblade sawmill for flattening the kiln dried slabs:



    The finished glue up:

    TR bookmatched slabs.jpg

    The completed table. We did not do the finish work, but supplied the glued up, void epoxy filled and sanded slab that was ready for finishing. The finish is Osmo Poly-X oil and the base is steel.

    finished slab table.jpg

    It is really fulfilling to be able to participate in projects that are unusual, especially one with a legacy as tremendous as Teddy Roosevelts'.
    Last edited by Scott T Smith; 10-16-2021 at 6:38 PM.

  2. #2
    Brilliant! What an amazing story to go with an amazing slab. Thanks for posting.

  3. #3
    What a great story! The table looks like something TR would have liked!
    Thanks for sharing both!
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    southeast Michigan
    What a great story to pass down and also share with us Creekers. Just curious, what are the final dimensions of the table?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    From a special log comes a very special table. Bravo!

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    New Hill, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by John Ziebron View Post
    What a great story to pass down and also share with us Creekers. Just curious, what are the final dimensions of the table?
    38” at the narrowest point, 48” at the widest, and 100” long.

    Here are some more pix. The slabs had some nice curl in them.


    Here is the bookmatch that we came up with after doing the epoxy fill in the voids and roughing them to width. This is pre final ripping and glue up.


    And here is a close up of the base. Although the artistry of the top is ours, The base is the design and work of others. It’s powder coated steel and weighs 300 lbs.

    Last edited by Scott T Smith; 10-16-2021 at 6:35 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Yorktown, VA
    Beautiful and bottom!! As an aside, way back in the day I did tactical nuclear weapons calculations on a huge Wang calculator the size of a typewriter. He was indeed a pioneer.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Blog Entries
    Done Teddy proud.
    Take me to the hotel - Baggage gone, oh well . . .

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Lewiston, Idaho
    Beautiful wood and table. Nicely done Sir!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Central NC
    Great work Scott and a special story.


  11. #11
    TR says “BULLY ,BULLY !”

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Trinidad, West Indies
    Nice work


  13. #13
    Very cool!

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