New Tables

I have new, hand made, solid wood tables in my living room.

One day when I was biking south of town, I noticed some guys out in front of a shop making wooden furniture. The waved and greeted me as I rode past, so I stopped to talk with them on my return trip. I’ve seen other furniture and woodworking shops around town but I hadn’t seen the carving and details that I saw here, and I also liked these guys.

There are all sorts of shops along this road.

There are all sorts of shops along this road that heads out towards La Barqueta.

They told me that yes indeed, they make furniture and could make anything I wanted. We had tables in the living room… well sort of. These are actually parts of plastic shelves that did the job, but it wasn’t exactly what we dreamed of for the long term.

tables2

They are light weight and easy to scrub (trying to find the good in everything)

I came home, we talked, decided on dimensions, and I returned to the shop to put in an order. They asked for half down so they could buy wood, and told me they should be ready in a week.

The shop may not look fancy, but they get a lot of work done there!

The shop may not look fancy, but they get a lot of work done there!

I passed by again only a few days later. They had one table almost done, and another built but waiting for finish.

That's the boss bending over my table and giving it a bit of attention with some sandpaper while his associated look on.

That’s the boss bending over my table while his associates look on.

There is quite a large shop area beyond the door, but the guys seem to prefer working outside and that is where you will usually find them unless it is raining.

This man was working on a headboard for a bed with carvings of flowers and leaves.

This man was working on a headboard for a bed with carvings of flowers and leaves.

It’s really interesting to go by the shop because they always seem to be working on something different. I’ve seen dressers, tables of all sorts including big dining room tables, mirror frames, chairs, and even an entire set of kitchen cabinets which were being sprayed with a beautiful red finish. They use hand power tools for some things but everything is individually cut, carved, assembled, and finished, and much of it is done totally by hand.

Two of my finished tables.

Two of my finished tables.

 

I thought I made it very clear that we wanted one bigger table and two other smaller tables but something got lost in translation, so I had to order the second smaller table when we picked up the others. When it was ready though it was also exactly what we were expecting so the important things were understood. If you want to be very picky you could complain that the putty over the nail heads doesn’t exactly match the wood, and there are some pencil marks left from the construction, but the tables are very solid and well built. The finish is what I asked for, and I like how they routed and smoothed the edges and corners. The price for all three tables – $160, $50 for the smaller ones and $60 for the larger.

I think I have new friends now. If they see me riding by and I don’t stop, they whistle and shout until I turn around.  I like supporting a local business of hard working guys. I think the price is more than fair (furniture here is as expensive if not more so than in the US). I like wood (probably related to my love of trees). I’m happy with the quality. Every time I use the tables I will think of the hands of these nice guys who made them especially for us.

 

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About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
This entry was posted in Getting Things Done, Miscellaneous, Panama and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to New Tables

  1. tombseekers says:

    We will be doing the same thing soon. A guy that was recommended even speaks English. He said just bring him a picture of the king bed we want and he will do it. Much better than the $1200 for pressed wood

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    • Excellent! I’ll be interested to see yours so post photos when it’s done. I think if we did that in the US it would cost a fortune, if we could even find someone. And yes, no pressed wood here.

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  2. Hugo Ernst says:

    You realize of course, you could have gone into town someplace, to an expensive store, and paid more for it, and not made any new friends….LOL

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    • There was a nice table, higher but not much bigger than our coffee table for sale in the furniture store down the road – $800. They might have been my best friends until they cashed the check 😀

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  3. allison says:

    These look fantastic!

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  4. Karen Ama Panama says:

    Those are really nice! And I also agree, I would want to support the local craftsman when I can.

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  5. 4sarge says:

    Nice Tables !!!

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  6. indacampo says:

    You know I would never had known that you had plastic tables in your living room, never noticed when we were there. LOL! We’ve had quite a lot of woodwork done by the locals and are happy every time that we can get something made to order and “plain”, just how we like it! Beautiful new wood tables amiga! 🙂

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    • Why do you think we always went out on the terrace? 😀 They weren’t even tables but those stackable plastic shelves, unstacked. But with the dark color and some pretty placemats on top, you wouldn’t think to look closely so they did the job.
      Yes, I like plain and simple too, let the beauty of the wood be the focus.
      Thanks!

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  7. oldsalt1942 says:

    Good for you for supporting the local economy.

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    • I love buying things from someone I know. I like knowing where the food comes from, and that my friend and neighbor built a lot of this house and planted the fruit trees around it, and that these new friends built my tables. I like that much better than buying from a big, faceless business.

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  8. John & Susan says:

    Those are great!
    Regarding the putty on the nail heads and pencil marks, Susan and I have a rule: If it looks good from 10 feet it’s good to go!

    Cheers!

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  9. Anonymous says:

    I need a few cabinet fronts made. Are they interested in some international business? Kidding (sort of) Charleston, David.

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