January 2011 Archives

Cherry Box for Christmas 2010

We didn't really do much for Christmas when we first got here in 2009. This year, we got a tree and the whole thing. Krista and I talked about it, and decided that we would just buy a few ornaments each year rather than a bunch of them all at once. Each one was sort of personal for us. In keeping with the whole improving my ability to work with wood thing, I decided I'd build a box to keep 2010's ornaments in. It is my second stab at hand cut dovetails.

My first attempt was a tool caddy I built in my dad's garage when I first got to Arkansas a decade ago. That one was done with scrap pine, and was a relative disaster. I left it in the garbage when we moved away, though I wish I had kept it for the old axe handle that I used for a carrying rod at the top of it. My dad turned the ends down for me and it was kind of sentimental even if my joints were crap.

This one turned out better, though it's got plenty of flaws. I'll probably make another box just to practice dovetails again soon. This one, though, is simply done. Before February even. Holds ornaments. Couldn't ask for much more.

Cherry Box for Christmas 2010
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I apprehend no danger to our country from a foreign foe. The prospect of a war with any powerful nation is too remote to be a matter of calculation. Besides, there is no nation on earth powerful enough to accomplish our overthrow. Our destruction, should it come at all, will be from another quarter. From the inattention of the people to the concerns of their government—from their carelessness and negligence. Make them intelligent, and they will be vigilant—give them the means of detecting the wrong, and they will apply the remedy.

Written on the walls at the NYPL

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Building for Clio
It is essential to match your furnishings to your cat.

I've been working on building this cabinet for a month or two off and on. It marks a weird shift in my way of doing things. I started completely without a plan and simply "composed" the cabinet as I went from hard maple and maple plywood. I got tired of feeling inadequate as a woodworker, and decided that it might be best to sort of "free write" a project with low stakes. It isn't perfect; it's simply a countertop to fold clothes on in the basement though, not "fine woodworking." A sort of prequel to the sort of thing I'd like to build in the future.

After I started the project, I was reading Krenov and noticed that he actually recommended kitchen cabinets as a good starter project for furniture builders. As we often say around the house, "yeah, I meant to do that."

Something has spoken to me in the night, burning the tapers of the waning year; something has spoken in the night, and told me I shall die, I know not where. Saying:

“To lose the earth you know, for greater knowing; to lose the life you have, for greater life; to leave the friends you loved, for greater loving; to find a land more kind than home, more large than earth—

—Wheron the pillars of this earth are founded, toward which the conscience of the world is tending— a wind is rising, and the rivers flow.”

Thomas Wolfe, You Can’t Go Home Again qtd. 2002

The last couple of years has taken its toll. I lost the closest thing to a best friend I ever had just after I moved to New York. But I didn't know it. I didn't find out until I searched for his address to send him a Christmas card. Though the loss is old, it feels new. He was much younger than me, and apparently he died in his sleep just after I spoke to him last. He didn't seem like he wanted to talk at the time, so I figured I'd just wait for him to call me. We had that sort of thing going on, I suppose that's why we always stayed friends. When we got enough of each other we'd just drift apart for six months or a year until we were happy to hear from each other again. But this time around, he won't be calling back.

In 2003, I had no complaints. I suppose that hasn't changed. In 2004, I was working on a Master's thesis (which was later called an "ambitious failure" by my Ph.D. advisor— an appraisal that I don't disagree with). Everything is uncovered in a twinkle with electricity, and then it disappears. In 2006, I thought rubbing might be involved; in 2007, I was a hop across the river from Sodom. By 2008, I was keeping my chin up and my head out of the oven. Perhaps one of the happiest moments from the Twin Cities though, was voting for Al Franken.

Nonetheless, you're either with it all the way or you blow the scene. All 72 or 3 inches of snow have melted by now, and I'm starting to feel better about living in Central New York. In another month, it will be ten years of writing stuff down in public. I suspect I'll continue that; writing in private nearly cost me my life, while writing in public has brought me a new one. Thanks for reading, my love.

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