River Mill Park Commission
When the Town of Huntsville built River Mill Park in 2009, I jumped at the opportunity to donate a chess table to grace the new park, and create some visibility for my new style of stonework
I had selected the stone for the patio and outdoor bar commission at Van Dyk Natural Stone , and I knew that it would be easy to find numerous blocks of a similar shape for this project
After cutting a grid pattern into the tabletop, I carefully chiselled out every second square and glued in a pre-cut square of a darker stone that I had found in the forest
I built the table upside down with two stainless steel rods through the height of the column
The mayor accepted my challenge to play the first chess game on the new table. It ended in a draw
The table has been well used since for games of chess and checkers
Apparently the Town liked my chessboard enough to commission two granite benches to go with it.
Centering the base under the pergola
Tightening the washers and nuts on the connecting rods
I had built a simple slab bench with a small base, then replaced the base with a much bigger block after figuring out how to attach a backrest to it.
Using the A-frame trailer to lower the 200 kilogram seat onto the base
I assembled the "sofa" in less than one hour in the quiet park. Anyone who had passed by earlier would think that it had materialized out of thin air
Back to Back Bench
When I found a second matching pair of split stones at the quarry I came up with the idea of a back to back bench. The designated spot had a clear view of the park in one direction and the river in the other
After the supports were cut and fitted I numbered them to indicate how to assemble the bench in the centuries to come, because this one became a 915 kilogram Chinese puzzle
I cut notches to take the weight of the twin backrests, which were one stone that had been split at the quarry into two identical pieces.
Because of the symmetrical design the connecting rods could not stick out at the other end for the nuts and washers to be screwed onto. The rods had to end deep inside the support pieces and be accessed by holes drilled perpendicular to the rods. I fashioned a special tool to hold the nut in place while I turned it onto the rod with a screwdriver