All of the visible wood used on the billiard table, except the legs, is ‘Picklewood’ reclaimed from old wooden pickle vats used to make pickles. This particular material was salvaged from the Dreher Pickle Factory in Fort Collins, Colorado. This lumber was originally used in water tanks along the railroad which supplied steam engines. Around 1902, the water tanks were dismantled and re-built into pickle vats by German immigrant Adolf Dreher who founded Dreher Pickles.
The vats were up to fourteen feet in diameter and eight feet tall. The wood used was carefully graded because any knots or other defects could cause a leak in the vat. Therefore all of the wood is ‘clear’ which means there are virtually no knots.
The rail tops, aprons and base is Douglas Fir while the body is Western Red Cedar. The black streaks and blotches in the wood are iron stains created by the vinegar in the pickle brine which dissolved the nails over time. The iron oxide or rust created the stains. Brown streaking and other patinas are a result of the brine and weathering over many years. The apron boards are from 1 ½” thick staves- or the upright sides of the vats. The rail tops are resawn from 2 ½” thick staves. The base is milled from 2 ½” thick pickle vat flooring. The dark brown side was the side of the floor facing inside the vat. The cedar jacket on the body is resawn 2 ½” thick Western Red Cedar staves. The board all came from the same piece and was resawn into thinner boards to create a continuous grain pattern around the body.
The legs of the billiard table are also reclaimed Douglas Fir. These are salvaged bridge timbers from Southern Idaho. The old surface has been re-sawn and planed to reveal the grain as well as the patina and checking (cracks) of age. There are also nail holes with iron stains. On the inside of one of the legs where it meets the cross piece of base is a large nail hole where I battled with one nail for over two hours. Sometimes nails that are embedded deep into the timbers get tighter and harder to remove over the years.