When the volunteers who make up the Build Crozet Library fund- raising committee first got going, it occurred to them that the new library’s circulation desk, which will be the prominent centerpiece of the space, should be built by a local craftsman and with local woods.
Crozet custom furniture-maker Dan Hunt got the call and he’s using a distinctive type of maple wood that was harvested in Nelson County.
Crozet library staffers got their first look at the desk recently when its skeletal frame was assembled in Hunt’s workshop for a test mock-up.
“They were surprised at how big it is and how much room it has,” said Hunt. “It’s going to be beautiful.”
The 24-foot-long desk has an eyelash-like curve to it, with a handicapped-accessible counter at one end.
“There’s a lot of electronics and cables that have to go in it,” explained Hunt.
It is being made in five sections, each curved. The central section, a sort of keystone, will house a cash drawer.
The countertop will be Corian, a durable, synthetic, non-porous material that can be sanded to remove scratches and that can only be installed by certified technicians.
The front panels will be laminated veneers that Hunt is building up himself in order to form the proper curve. Across the front of the desk will be the skyline of the Blue Ridge Mountains as seen from Crozet. Photos of the mountains were taken and then connected into a pattern that conveys the line of the ridge. The Ambrosia Maple Hunt is using to represent the mountains, the lower part of the front, will be thicker and thus stick out in relief from the upper, paler sections of the front, also made from maple, that represent the sky.
“Ambrosia maple has interesting multicolor streaks—reds, grays and browns—in the wood,” explained Hunt, who suggested to the BCL that the desk use ambrosia maple. “The darker section will match the rest of the library cabinetry.”
The desk was designed by architects at Grimm and Parker, designers of the building itself. When Hunt got the job, they required him to make shop drawings of the desk to send to them to review.
“I’ve spent a lot of time with the drawings and so far I haven’t run into any problem. So far it’s going smoothly. Everything fits like it’s supposed to. You have to put the time into planning.
“This is the most extensive process I’ve ever been through,” he said. “I don’t usually need to do this much to make furniture.”
Hunt said that the desk is slated to be installed in the first week of August and he estimated it will require 300 hours to build. He is going to sign his name to it on the inside.