Thursday, September 27, 2012

War Stories: The Spitfire Table

Old friend and noted furniture maker, Huw Edwards-Jones, has a table for sale. Now this is not like anything you'll find at IKEA or advertised on eBay. Indeed it's such an astonishing fusion of art and engineering that it caused me to emerge from my blogging hiatus to comment.  The table is essentially an authentically reconstructed nosecone of a Supermarine Spitfire -the iconic WWII fighter aircraft. It is constructed from many original parts of verifiable provenance. For example the propeller blades are numbered and Huw has a complete history of each airplane to which it was originally attached. The aluminium has been shaped to the original size and contours of a Mk IX Spitfire and is assembled using original fastenings. The exhaust stubs are genuine Rolls Royce Merlin parts (did any engine ever sound better than that glorious supercharged V12?) and the propeller and nose cone rotate noiselessly on a crankshaft bearing. The time from concept to completion was is excess of five years and the details of the table's construction can be found here.

I can say, honestly, that I've never seen anything like it: the construction is a work of genius and the overall effect is breathtaking. I should point out that Huw is not a common or garden chippy  - among other things he is Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers and a Freeman of the City of London. This is kind of a big deal. First of all only 300 individuals are admitted to the Company, membership of which entitles him to herd sheep across London Bridge and "go about the city with a drawn sword, to be drunk and disorderly without fear of arrest, and if convicted of a capital offense, to be hung with a silken rope”. Handy stuff. I should add that Huw's portfolio is amazing and stewards of his furniture include members of the British Royal Family. 

So if you are thinking of a rather different Christmas present for a loved one or you feel your current dining table is looking a bit passé, why not consider acquiring this brilliant conversation piece and give Huw a call. Be warned though, he told me the parts alone cost close to £60,000 (let's say $100,000 US, give or take a bit) so it's not going to be cheap...!