The Sullivan side table part III – the finishing touches.
Northern India during winter is cold. In a cavernous building reserved for woodwork, the chill seems contradictory to the warm hues that emanate from the vast stores of timber. All in varying stages of production, we watch as the Sullivan’s solid mango wood tabletop begins to take shape.
Ghanshyam and Rakesh Sharma are busy working on the Sullivan’s tabletop, faces covered to protect themselves from sawdust and wood shavings, their voices are muffled. “We’re brothers in law,” the younger man, Rakesh informs us. “From the same village. Carpentry is a customary trade there,” he explains, smiling. “We both love it.”
The two men work a wood plane back and forth across the surface, one at each end in a manner that, rather than smoothing, actually distresses the tabletop. It’s this process that gives it that beautiful weathered look and feel, increasing its industrial appeal.
Parting heavy strip curtains, we walk into the finishing area where the workers refer to themselves as the Spray Men. They wield their spray guns, evenly distributing lacquer, sealer and paint over the wooden tabletops and steel frames. The air turns misty.
“I like spraying lacquer the most,” says Dilip Chauhan. “It’s so shiny and lustrous.”
A volleyball fan who spends his weekends playing the sport on a court near his home, Chauhan explains that the job of a ‘spray man’ requires concentration and a steady hand. “I can’t just daydream,” he says. “When I have the gun in my hand, I have to focus or the paint will go everywhere and the quality of the finish will suffer.”
All the artisans involved in the making of the Sullivan side table often refer to producing the best quality results. It’s clear that pride in work leads to pride in self.
As Rajesh Chauhan, the supervisor of the finishing area pointed out – “We like to make sure everything is perfect, to make sure that the job has been done the best it can be.”
A scattering of finished Sullivan side tables stand proud. From Z to C-shaped and from Sky Blue and Chalk White to Matt Black and Aged Steel, their work is done.
Take a closer look at our Sullivan collection.