Monday, March 15, 2010
Turn, Turn, Turn
My husband has purchased a lathe. It is the last tool he says he will ever have to buy, which is of course, what all the tools in his workshop have been. It started with a table saw, the gateway drug that led to a bandsaw that led to a planer, and a joiner and a dust collector. He gets the kids involved so that whenever a new tool arrives, they gather around while he unpacks it on the living room floor, as though it's a puppy or a new TV that only plays cartoons.
The lathe required several men to unload it off the truck and straight into the shop, and here the children stood on the sidelines, gawking at the arrival of their new step-sibling, the apple of their father's eye.
If they're good, if they go to bed without whispering to one another, or sneaking out of their beds for a book after lights out, he'll make them...a lathe toy!--one of his practice blocks (pictured above) where he tries out making coves, beads, and rings, working each type of chisel until it feels like an extension of his own hands.
It's always blown my mind how he's able to do this, take to a tool with no prior knowledge or experience and come out with furniture. His genius is in his hands, no doubt, but also in his willingness to work for nothing less than perfection.
His very first project, back when we lived in one half of a double bungalow, was a cd rack I asked him to stain Jacobean brown to match the woodwork. He bought a can of spray-on polyurethane and proceeded to finish and strip and refinish the cd rack no less than five times. I couldn't have asked for a better cd rack, but by the time I'd loaded up all my disks, he had decided to build an entertainment center to house not only CDs, but also the tv, the stereo and all the other bulky technology that took up half our living room back in the day.
From there, it was kitchen cabinets for the first house we bought: solid cherry, natural finish, shaker style, with top notch hardware. No other house in the neighborhood had such a grand kitchen, and when I drive past the old house at night, I can see them still gleaming from outside the kitchen window.
He has made other kitchens since then, built-in-bookcases, dressers, desks, kitchen tables, etc. And this lathe, he promises will ultimately culminate in lifting our mattress and boxsprings from their ten-year run in a pile on the floor, up to a lovely turned-post bed, the likes of which Odysseus could only aspire to make for his Penelope. I'll believe it when I see it. But I have said as much for every long-shot plan he's made, and so far, to my perpetual surprise, he has not failed to deliver.
I hope that one of these days he gets to quit his day job.