Local craftsman fashions old wood into beautiful coffee table for CICS

For 100 years or more, dozens of enormous maple trees towered over Margaretville’s sidewalks, dappling them in shade. Unfortunately, in order to make room for sewer and water lines, they were all cut down in the fall of 2000. But those grand old trees, it turns out, were neither lost nor forgotten. And we have Gary Mead, a master wood craftsman, to thank for that.
“I was on my way to lunch when I saw a village truck with the logs and asked where they were taking them – to the wood dump,” says Mead, who owns and operates Fruitful Furnishings, the saw mill on Southside Road. “They agreed to dump them at my mill instead.”
Over the next several years he spalted them himself, using artisanal techniques to produce fine black lines in the wood’s beautiful grain. Then he sawed the wood into lumber, kilned it, and put it aside while imagining what he might do with the special wood.
This year, inspiration struck and the results are magnificent. He has designed and handmade a finely-crafted coffee table which is on sale at the Catskill Mountain Artisans Guild shop, in Margaretville. The lucky buyer will be able to own a piece of Margaretville – from historic wood that was grown, milled, and finished all within a two-mile radius.
Proceeds from the sale will go to the Catskill Citizens’ Initiative for Community Spaces – or CICS – to help support the Margaretville Park Pavilion. The history-making Pavilion has won praise in national publications for its unique collaboration between Margaretville neighbors and Parsons The New School for Design, among the nation’s preeminent architecture schools. Students designed the pavilion to meet local needs, then relocated to Margaretville last summer to build it themselves as tireless volunteers.
The spalted maple coffee table can be seen in the window of the guild, which recently re-opened in the Commons Building on Main Street.