Now that the weather is getting colder and the holidays are starting to creep up on everybody, the general contracting work has slowed down considerably. It happens every year, regardless of whether you're talking about a $1M contractor or a $100M contractor. Cold weather + holidays = nobody wants to do a whole lot of building or spending money on anything (aside from turkeys and presents) until January 1.
In my younger days I would get really nervous this time of year, and fear not having made enough money during the summer for everybody to get comfortably through the winter. Luckily, as the furniture portion of the operation has grown over the past few years, winter time has become furniture-building time. It's also become material acquisition time; given that maybe 60-70% of the furniture business involves the use of reclaimed materials, sometimes hunting for the right stuff for a given project or client can be an arduous process. During the spring/summer, when everything moves a mile a minute and there almost always seems to be more ongoing projects than we have time to deal with, carving out time to track down just the right barn wood, or just the right vintage whatever, or something with just the right patina...well, it's almost impossible. But not in the fall.
I recently stumbled across a pile of old 5-panel doors waiting to be taken the landfill, and because I may or may not have a minor addiction to squeezing landfill-bound doors into my car and stockpiling them at my shop for future use, I grabbed them. One of the doors had cracking white paint that I wanted to save and use as the surface for something, and the stiles and rails from that door became a small sofa table.
Sometimes when working with old doors, I'll go out of my way to avoid using the "bad" parts - the lockset mortise, the hing mortises, the spots where rails and stiles were held together with tenons or dowels, etc. - but on this table, because I needed just about very square inch of usable material I could harvest, I embraced the "imperfections" and ran with them. As a result, this table doesn't hide any of the signs that at one time, it had been something else. The cracking white paint is prominently displayed, as are the chunks taken out of it over the years. The splits in the wood, where screws from who knows what had allowed water to infiltrate the door, were left as is. The spots on what became the table legs where hand-cut mortises are clearly visible, I left them open and exposed rather than patching over them. And because I needed thicker material for the legs than what the door could provide without some improvisation on my part, I glued pieces of door lumber together to achieve the required thickness.
I don't care that on a couple of the legs, the coloring of the pine in the glued-together pieces is noticeably different. I don't care about the holes, or the cracks, or really any of the "imperfections". This particular table is all about highlighting fact that this old door, she'd served her purpose for many, many years and yet, maybe as something else, she still has a few good years left. So...no reason to hide the age, or the evidence of being used previously as something else. The result is a look not everybody will appreciate, but it's a look that'd be awfully hard to replicate with new material, and way, way less interesting.