Holy hardwood: Now that’s a table
Jason Laurich’s aptitude for working with wood and metal has evolved from a hobby into side businesses and has led him to many projects including the most recent one to create an enormous, unique, exotic-wood table.
He and wife Carla said friends of theirs in Texas just welcomed their eighth child and need a large family dining table. The friends know about Jason’s woodworking talents, so they issued him a challenge. He said the two friends are “always fabricating stuff” and coming up with novel ideas.
The friends wanted a hardwood table that would stand up to time and children. They wished for something quality, unique and colorful, with a random pattern.
In the shop, Jason took about two weeks to plan and conceptualize the design. The oldest two of the couple’s four sons, Jonah and Caleb, helped with the engineering of the interior table hardware and computer-aided design drawings for the project.
Jason had made a connection to a good exotic-wood supplier when he was building a custom guitar so was able to lay hands on unusual building materials. The table contains four types of exotic hardwood: Bloodwood, which is native to South Africa; purple heart, which is native to South America from Mexico to Brazil; walnut, which grows mainly in the eastern United States; and zebrawood, which comes from West Africa.
“The reason I picked them is mostly for color,” Jason said.
The table seats 14 and has two extending leaves that may be used together, alone or not at all, and the tables has an 8-foot bench and matching chairs.
He said, “The leaves are self contained right inside.”
He worked nights and weekends from October through April, tracking the hours worked on the table, which total about 500.
The table measures 4 feet by 8 feet and has two leaves. It weighs about the same as a standard piano and will be disassembled into eight pieces for shipment. The Lauriches’ friends have not yet seen the finished table, but the families exchanged ideas on a YouTube channel and texted a lot. Jason said he naturally works in a patterned way, so at one point Carla reviewed the design and advised him to make it “more random.”
Evolution of a wood, metal worker
“How I got into woodworking is when we bought our first house,” Jason said. “I started with the house and it kind of went from there.”
When he and Carla married 20 years ago, they bought a house in Anoka and Jason started remodeling and learning as he went. His penchant for precision and perfection served the projects well, and he’s made many pieces of custom furniture and other items over the years.
Carla said “He likes the challenge.”
He works as a supervisor at Sportech, Inc. of Elk River, which specializes in thermal forming. Before that he did metal tool/die/stamping work. Jason’s exposure to building stuff started during boyhood with his father. The two once pulled blueprints for a wooden-fabric airplan his dad had built in high school and crafted from them a working, two-person plane.
About 10 years ago, he and Carla observed three-wheeled bikes they thought were cool. Jason thought, “Hey, I could build one of those.”
So he took to the man cave for metal work and emerged with a three-wheeled bike that has a regular seat. Everyone liked them so he built more and then continued modifying the design. People ask about the bikes and often want one, so from that grew the home-based business Shock Cycle http://shockcycle.net/.
Jason said he has found a delightful niche with the bike building where he says “talent meets need.” For example, one family came to visit about a bike for their boy, who has a permanent brace on his leg and balance issues. His mother shed tears as she watched him ride a bike for the first time.
Another client had lost both hands in a farming accident and had prosthetic replacements. The man was unable to work the controls of a regular bike, so Jason re-oreinted the handlebars. Jason customizes and accessorizes the bikes as needed, such as with lighting underneath for better visibility in dim light.
“They’re fun,” Jason said, “they’re a blast to ride.”
People like being able to sit on a regular seat instead of a small, uncomfortable pad, thus the tagline “save your tail” has emerged.
He likes how the the cycle side business and woodworking hobby enable him to share with his sons many real-life, lessons about mechanics, planning and more, “If it’s something we can do as a family,” Jason said, “that’s what it’s all about.”