Randy and Susie Deering stumbled across the idea for creating distressed metal-topped tables quite by accident. As they tell it, about 10 years ago, as they were unloading goods at an antique show, their aged galvanized-topped display table sold before they could even get it unloaded. Intrigued with the idea of creating more tables like it, Randy built on his 35 years of experience in furniture restoration, and began experimenting with ways to create a similar look using an acid etching process.
Randy has since perfected his technique of turning copper, galvanized zinc, and pure zinc into beautiful table tops. These tops are truly one-of-a-kind because every sheet of metal is different. And not unlike a wood carver working with the grain of a piece of wood, Randy can look at each sheet of metal and understand how it will develop over the etching process.
Every time I walk into Randy and Susie’s antique store – Apple Pie Antiques in Cottage Grove – I find myself running my fingers over the surfaces of their metal-topped tables on display. I love the smooth coolness under my hand coupled with the visual complexity of metal and the earthy tones of the wood. After years of admiring his work, we finally found the perfect way to incorporate it in our own home. We had Randy create a counter for our laundry room sink. The rustic look of the distressed galvanized zinc fits perfectly in our historic house. However, the metal can also be quite urban looking when used, for example, as a fireplace surround or perhaps as a wine bar as we discovered at Brandborg Winery in Elkton during a recent wine tasting.
While I am familiar with Randy’s work through the antique shop, Randy says that because of his website (www.MetalToppedTables.com) most of his business comes from outside the area, especially the east coast. He has also sold table tops internationally, including to a bistro in London, England before the 2012 Olympics.
Even though we now have a piece of Randy’s work, the metal-topped tables still intrigue me. A stop at Apple Pie Antiques always leaves me wondering if there is somewhere else to add a little more metal to our home.
To see Randy’s metal-topped tables, visit Apple Pie Antiques at 811 E. Main Street in Cottage Grove. Open Tuesday through Friday 10:30-5:00 and Saturday 10:30-4:00, Sundays by chance or call ahead, 541-942-0057.
*This blog post originally appeared as “In with the Old” in Oregon Community Connection, Winter 2014. It has been updated and revised.