Made On Earth — Made in Sector Zero-Zero-One

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Made On Earth — Made in Sector Zero-Zero-One


Free-associate the phrase “starship Enterprise coffee table,” and generally, words like “classy” and “elegant” do not come first to mind. But woodworker Barry Shields’ actual starship Enterprise coffee table manages to be both those things, without sacrificing the “wicked” and “cool” factors inherent to the concept. Come 2375, it will probably grace the commandant’s office at Starfleet Academy; for now, it belongs to one very lucky professor at the University of Connecticut.

Shields, father of two, lives in Sevierville, Tenn., and works as a technician by day. His Enterprise table was built over a month of nights and weekends in his dad’s furniture restoration shop and sold shortly after listing on Etsy earlier this year. It has since attracted wide attention online, including praise from Star Trek luminaries Rod Roddenberry and George Takei, and Shields is hard at work on new orders.

The ship is modeled in fine hardwoods — ash, cherry, and poplar — and the top is a shield-shaped piece of glass 3 feet wide by 4½ feet long. Shields says cutting the glass was among the most difficult parts of the project, involving expert assistance, a handheld cutting wheel, and “a lot of prayer.”

Astute Trekkies will recognize the ship as the ill-fated NCC-1701-C, which Shields chose mostly for practical reasons: the bridge and nacelles of Enterprise C are closer to the same height than those of any other ship to bear the name. Even so, to level the tabletop he had to use small risers on the nacelles and mount the bridge dome above the glass. The gentle arc of the base is intended to suggest a planet’s horizon below, but many have pointed out its resemblance to a Klingon bat’leth.

And we know, gentle reader, that we don’t have to tell you what that is.

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

View more articles by Sean Michael Ragan


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