- Associated Press - Monday, February 27, 2017

GALVESTON, Texas (AP) - Walter Hansen traced his finger along a curved pencil line on a table leg he made from a Fort Crockett barracks rafter tail.

The Galveston County Daily News (http://bit.ly/2kMFE0x ) reports the curve arches in the opposite direction of the cut wood as if someone changed his mind and flipped the piece.

“This is the original pencil mark from the craftsman,” Hansen said. “It humanizes the work.”

Gary Walding, who owns the event venue Walding Station in League City, hired Hansen to build a solid and unusual table base using reclaimed wood from the old Galveston military installation.

Gary uses it for a buffet table,” Hansen said. “Everything he has has a story behind it.”

Fort Crockett was established in 1903 as a U.S. Army coastal artillery installation. Five barracks were built in 1910, and demolished in 2014.

Four other barracks were built in the late 1930s, and demolished in 2015. In 1956, some of the structures were transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard and remained as such until 1996, when the federal government declared them surplus.

Walding and Hansen got the pieces of Fort Crockett from Antique Warehouse in Galveston.

The wood has history all over it. Faint traces of turquoise and white paint are noticeable in spots. A craftsman left a mark on one piece of a rafter with an auger bit. Nail holes with dark outlines are visible.

Hansen built the table base out of the old rafters and other reclaimed pieces of longleaf yellow pine. He used mortise and tenon joints that required no nails. In key points, he used black walnut for plugs.

“This table will never come apart,” he said.

The top of the 1,200-pound table is a slab of sandstone from Arkansas that looks like petrified wood. Walding bought that piece first.

“When I saw the top, I wanted a superior craftsman to build the base,” Walding said. “It’s all done by hand.”

Hansen, who is a retired FBI agent and has lived in League City for 11 years, has been working wood for at least 50 years. The hobby became more serious as he started to sell his finished products. He built a 10-foot lapstrake dinghy a few years ago that won awards.

After that, he oversaw the yearlong restoration of a historic Danish boat at The Holocaust Museum Houston. He’s worked on many projects using reclaimed wood, although he prefers using fresh wood without hidden nails and other unpleasant surprises.

He’s built both boats and furniture.

“Furniture has to be square, perfectly straight and flat,” he said. “With a boat, everything is curved. There are compound angles. Everything is bent.”

Hansen will teach “Introduction to Woodworking with Hand Tools” this June for College of the Mainland’s 50 Plus Program. He is building “pristine examples” for his course. One piece will be a wooden tool chest for which he’s using some 50-year-old longleaf pine barn wood.

He’s also planning to build a kitchen hutch for his wife that he intends to enter in the Texas Furniture Makers Show, he said.

Walding envisions future generations eating off the new table 500 years from now.

“We’re going to use it, and we’re going to enjoy it,” Walding said.

___

Information from: The Galveston County Daily News, http://www.galvnews.com

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