CHARLESTON, West Virginia – A pine oak that once stood outside the West Wing of the West Virginia capital will now serve the state in a new way, as a more than 800 pound conference table housed within the general service division.
Denton McDerment, an engineer in the Air Quality division of the Department of Environmental Protection, designed and built the table to extend the life of the tree that has been present for so much of the history of West Virginia.
After learning of the impending removal of the nearly 100-year-old tree, McDerment contacted GSD to inquire about the tree’s future. Meanwhile, GSD management and urban foresters Andy Sheetz and Elizabeth Moss were also trying to decide what should be done with the tree.
Together, they decided that McDerment would be allowed to obtain the tree and build a custom property for the state of West Virginia.
“When Denton and his sons delivered the table to us in January, we were impressed with Denton’s craftsmanship,” said John Cummings, GSD’s land manager, of the two-year project. “This is a great example of what can be done with our urban forests in West Virginia. This table will last for many years. It’s nice! This is a good example of what a single tree can do.
The table is 4 feet wide, 12 feet long and 2 ¼ inches thick. The tray alone weighs around 520 pounds.
McDerment says he enjoys getting logs from downed trees to convert them into a variety of handcrafted items, including large tables and custom furniture.
“When I read the newspaper article on tree felling, I thought it was an opportunity to transform a magnificent tree, perhaps admired for years … into a piece of furniture that can be used and enjoyed for many years to come, ”he says.