Sunday, November 22, 2009

My chance to be just like Norm. No, not NORM!, the other Norm.

Okay, okay, I hear're thinking, "geez, WTF... Mike's at home with the flu, the LEAST he could do is post to his blog once in a while." Yeah, well, you're right. But the trouble is I don't have a laptop, and I didn't manage to drag my sorry butt out of bed for at least three days straight. It got to a point where I was starting to form some sort of crust on my thighs, so I decided it was finally time to get up and face the world. And here I am. Three days off work with something that did NOT amount to swine flu, but managed to leave behind a nasty case of bronchitis that makes me sound like a fully grown harp seal stuck in the carburetor of a Civic (wait, do Civics have carburetors? Nah, probably not...there goes my whole metaphor).

Okay, so that's where I've been. If I WASN'T hacking up phlegm balls the size of a small squid I would perhaps be much further along with my latest renovation-related project. I've decided it's time to finally face the music (that pun will hurt in a moment...) and build us an entertainment unit for the family room (see, told ya). You see, When we built the addition, we at least planned ahead and managed to mount the TV on the wall. What we did NOT do, however, was anything else even remotely related to making our stereo system NOT look like it was set up by a couple of Alpha Chi brothers attempting to decorate their off-campus man cave. Here it is currently, in all it's glory, my favorite part being, as my buddy calls it, the "off" center speaker:

Okay, so maybe it's not THAT bad, but my wife and I are card-carrying adults now, and it's about time we had something that doesn't make us look like we've been furnishing our home via the As-Is section of IKEA (which, BTW, is exactly where we got that base cabinet). So, here's my master plan:

Okay, sure, you say, that looks pretty standard. What's the big deal? Why not buy yourself an entertainment unit and get it done with, right? Phphhhh. Please. I refuse to stoop so low as to go out and buy myself something that appears gorgeous, is likely shoddy in makemanship, costs about ten times what it's worth, and probably doesn't fit that whompin' huge CD player when in fact I can custom build something that perfectly fits our needs, comes with the same shoddy makemanship, and costs a tenth as much. Add to this the fact that my wife has already approved me spending oodles of hours down in the workshop to make this beast when I could be spending quality time yelling at my children, and there's obviously no question I should build my own.

But wait, there's more.

If you've ever watched Yankee Workshop, you know that Norm, the carpenter, is famous for a few things: 1)First, a little shop safety. Always wear "these" safety glasses 2)having thirty-eight different routers so he doesn't have to spend time changing router bits, and 3)somehow managing to get his hands on some slab of lumber that was scavenged from a Revolutionary War cannon stand that's been buried in a salt mine for 250 years and turning it, magically, into a beautiful and finely crafted duck-shaped wind chime. I mean, really, how many of you have watched those shows on HGTV only to scoff when the home builder proclaims that the floorboards have been reclaimed from a 200-year-old barn, or that the ceiling's false beams were saved from a vintage ice factory being demolished in Cheboygan, thinking "yeah, but they don't sell that stuff at Home Depot."

Well, thanks to my buddy Jeff (a far more experienced woodworker than I) I can finally say I can be just like Norm, sort of. Jeff discovered a 100+ year-old barn being torn down in his neighborhood, and he had the foresight to deal with the crew and buy himself a number of chestnut ceiling beams and sycamore floorboards. And then he had the foresight to offer to sell me some of those sycamore boards for use with this little project of mine And I had the foresight to say yes. So give me a several months, and if all goes well I will be able to stand there as visitors admire my handywork while I casually explain, "oh, this old thing? Yes, it's made from the salvaged boards of a centuries-old barn." and then move on to explain how I selected the sycamore because it brings out just the right tonal harmonies when I stream Depeche Mode on my iPod. Or something like that. I'll have to work on the story.

So production has started. Nothing to show just yet, but I know that resting comfortably across my workbench right now is the case for the lefthand bookshelf, awaiting the first pieces of newly planed antique sycamore floorboards to be applied to the front face. If only I could breathe well enough to handle being in my workshop long enough to do it. Well, that's what pharmaceuticals are for.

1 comment:

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