Good Tillage, Wayne Chaudiere



Good Tillage; ...from farm to table.

This functional piece of metal art was inspired by and reflects my ties to the rural landscape and farming. I am a keen supporter of the farm to table movement, which encourages consumption of locally grown produce and a closer connection to the land and the people who bring that produce to market. For years with the Whatcom Conservation District and before that the Peace Corps, I have worked with farmers and rural landowners on conservation and good farming practices. 

I am sure that for earlier generations this plow must have helped bring many a nutritious and appetizing meal to the table. It was discovered buried deep in a farm junk pile. The owner, an elderly cattleman and friend, traded the plow for a load of gravel delivered in my old pickup. We are both pleased that this old plow has found renewed purpose; from farm to table.

When I first acquired the old plow I was instantly committed to seeing its reincarnation, though it wasn't immediately clear, in just what form. The plow would take a bit of time to reveal itself to me as a table base. I initially pondered over it in various positions in my welding shop before I thought to flip it upside down. It was unstable this way, but the position was somehow fitting.  It took several trials with old metal scraps that would complement the piece and provide the appropriate support.  I balanced and tack welded, then started over, a few times in pursuit of just the right look and feel. 

Once satisfied, I touched up the new table base with a grinder. I then applied an acid treatment followed by several days of curing. Finally, I gave it a Linseed oil rub to reveal the deep and nostalgic patina of old steel with a history.  The glass table top was a fortuitous discovery during one of my scouting trips for reusable materials. 

The journey from found relic to its new life as a table followed the proverbial long and winding road. No short cuts — but would it have been as much fun or rewarding any other way? 

Wayne Chaudiere

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