I have had to replace an oven which led me to begin the replacement of cooktop with gas in my kitchen — requiring a much larger bench-top. This I have been building from three pieces of a slab from this ancient of the forest delivered to our Bodalla bush block in last year's flood:
Full of cracks and rot and irregularity I have coloured a water based hard putty with red pigment (used otherwise in painting in house) and worked it into the various grooves and gaps. I've levelled the bench (having made a terrible mess outside today with ground wood and red powder from hard putty) and brought the benchtop, with its angled hole for gas cooktop, back into the kitchen. The pale timber at the back, fourth slab is a piece of Paulownia.
[photos can be seen full size by clicking; press the back button to return]
You will see from dribbles on the Paulownia that I applied varnish before the first putty treatment, to help keep the putty in cracks and avoid it seeping into timber generally. Some way to go, tidying and varnishing... and still the horror of not knowing if it will work, if it will look right, bright, exciting — or if I'll have to chuck it out and start again. I think it looks a bit better than the photo, but that may be a parent's view of a messy child. The clear gloss should darken timber and in particular bring the grind-paled putty back towards a blood colour. And look spectacular... :-)
The practicality is in having the cook not entirely facing the wall but with bench at an angle towards oven and convection microwave to the left, room under the front, outside cupboard and under bench, for an extra trolley. Lots of space now on the bench to crowd with stuff, rattle pots and pans. The stove bench now 1800 long x 600 to 950 deep, you can see the front of the old bench in the new cooktop hole.
Speaking of Paulownia, I had a moment of excitement during the week with an interest in buying the three (Paulownia) panel screen that I put in an exhibition in Huskisson last year... but after a flurry of emails, the interest went away, so here the screen is, as photographed last week, available to you! :-)
Here was the earlier life and death of the Paulownia, the first photo showing cutting of a Paulownia log smashed down by the big Eucalypt 15 months ago; second photo shows slab cutting. I have not been fit or well enough since mid-2010 to spend enough time at Bodalla working on that situation or retrieving and using lumber; very happily we have a family living in the cottage now, they got to experience the flood of March 2011, when the Tuross River downstream rose from 2 metres to 12 metres in several hours.