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Reclaimed Wood Desk

The Beauty of Imperfection

| Shane Dennehey
Years ago, my wife's grandfather "Papa" gave me a great gift. He and his wife were moving out of their tiny house in Oklahoma to a new place where they could retire so he was giving things he valued to his children and grandchildren. I got a beat-up, old wooden workbench that some may call “vintage” today. It was covered with history—nicks, dings, and imperfections reflecting its 50 years as a work surface for mechanics at a Ford dealership where Papa was an accountant.

Papa gave me the workbench because he and I shared the love of woodworking. Before I became a graphic designer, I was a carpenter. I did it professionally and as a hobby. To me, this old, beat-up work surface was priceless. In fact, I knew it was made of rock maple—some of the hardest wood you can get—traditionally used to make the very best butcher blocks. Its pieces are held together by three long, threaded steel rods, so when the glue wears out over time, it stands strong.

The person who made this workbench really knew what he was doing.

I could’ve spent hours sanding down the surface and making it look pristine—like a brand-new table—but I didn’t. Instead, I realized all the dings and blemishes are what made it beautiful. They tell a story not only about where the bench has been but also what it’s made of—its character. I can’t help but see the parallel with our own lives. The One who made us really knew what He was doing. He made us with the best materials and the finest craftsmanship. However, life has a way of knocking the corners off of you. We undergo difficult situations and circumstances that leave imperfections and wounds. But God made us with a purpose, and He is still there ready to use us despite our scars. In fact, He sent His son to die for us because of the sin in our lives. That’s how valuable we are to Him.

Eventually, I fitted the workbench onto another old desk and brought it to my office. I use it every day, and as I glance over the rough, worn edges of this 75-year-old surface, I’m reminded that despite my own imperfections, our Creator still sees the value in me and chooses to use me every day.


  • Posted by Shane Dennehey on

    Hi Jeannie, the star plans are a good place to start if you have access to a table saw. Here’s a complete tool list:

  • Posted by Jeannie Eichenlaub on

    For someone that has very little woodworking experience and minimal equipment, would the star pattern be a good way to start some woodworking?

  • Posted by Dennis Breault on

    What a wonderful way of thinking about life’s true purpose. God bless you!

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