Saturday, May 9, 2009

Getting all Roy about it

I found a pair of old oak folding chairs for a good price, and they needed just a little work. They're really small, so I grabbed them thinking they would be good for the re-finished desk. You know, so I wouldn't become an A-hole smacking my chair into the Kneehole and doing it more damage. The chairs are tapered in front and fit beautifully.

Neither needed refinishing (thank goodness), just a quick polish with beeswax. One needed a new rung - simple enough. So I bought an oak dowel (the guy at the hardware store had no clue what the dowels were made of, so I poked through the racks till I recognized the grain). I picked out the remnants of the old dowel, and cut the new one to length. Now, I just needed to make the ends into tenons by removing some material.

Despite the fact that we have two perfectly-functional wood lathes, I decided to go all Roy Underhill on it, rather than use power tools. You know Roy, right? The guy on PBS who makes everything - EVERYTHING - by hand? Who has the world's sharpest tools and the world's greatest patience? I figured it would be quick to just make a shoulder by running the chisel around, then cut out extra material, then rasp & sand to finish it up. Yeah, right. An hour later, I had two mortises - they worked out just fine but it's always amazing how long it takes to do things the old-fashioned way. [CAB - thanks for the bowl - it's in the background. It's great in the dining room!]

It made me think of this article, which I saw earlier in the week, about how renewing old homes is a green practice. After a Roy experience, you also realize just how much went into every single little bit of a house, a piece of furniture, any little old thing. Does that realization also make you less likely to throw things away or discard old, broken stuff? I wonder...


Gwen said...

I agree that restoring an older home and bringing something old- back to new is a green practice and of course living small is too! I don't know Roy but I'll have to check him out!

Alexis said...

The desk looks great. Amazingly, I had a similar one my senior year at college and a beautiful old oak dresser too, all foraged from the basements at Smith. If only I could have taken them with me.