Monday, May 26, 2014

The Competence Project, Living with Ugly

The table on the right here was actually given to me as practice by the workshop teacher, Dan Mack, who by the way does magical things with rustic wood furniture in addition to teaching and writing books on the subject. I think I chose the legs -- it's been a while -- but he chose the top, this odd trapezoid of pine (table on the right). The legs are a) on the left, something I can't remember but think might be oak; b) on the right, driftwood; c) at the back, peeled maple.

Anyway, it took me over a year to finish this thing because I couldn't figure out what shape to make the top. I didn't like the trapezoid option, but I'd already drilled the holes for the mortise and tenon joints and they didn't leave much room to get inventive with the shape. In the end I went for something pretty basic and mostly just sanded down the corners to round them out.

It matches our floors almost perfectly. Isn't that hideous? But I like the bottom, even though I can't look at it most of the time. It reminds me of a glacier valley, or the colors of rocks under a rushing river in the Rockies. And the shape looks nice from the side. Turning the legs around was a big improvement over that wide-legged stance. That reminded me too much of so many men on the subway taking up all the space.

All in all, I'm not thrilled with this table. It doesn't have the weight I'm looking for, for one thing, which I'm sure is a psychological problem. (Part of this whole competence project, I've realized, is a craving to feel more rooted or grounded or something; I should just wait a few decades and they'll have a pill for that. Or an app.) But it's not bad. Maybe it needs staining to bring its disparate parts together.

Or maybe I should pretend it's a high-fashion model. The legs have that kind of ultra-skinny catwalk look. Except with the knock-kneed cutesiness of a Care Bear.

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