My first – err – project

OK, for anyone who followed my recent article about my first woodworking experience, you might have wondered how I could have gotten started again in woodworking.

I was looking for the perfect gift for my wife for her birthday. I looked at the pretty sparkly things in the jewelers case. But, she told me that she didn’t want any of that. Besides, we didn’t have the cash to buy anything really nice. Too expensive.

I looked in the department stores for clothes, a hand bag, shoes, anything that I thought she would need. She told me that she really only wanted a gift card. Too impersonal.

Perfume? She didn’t wear any. Too allergic.

My first *YUCK* projectI looked on the Internet to find a quaint bed and breakfast to take her on a vacation. Of course, we would have to get a sitter for our infant son. And, who could we really trust to care for him like we could? Too much of a bother.

I was really getting dejected about these shopping trips when my wife uttered the words that would change my life. ‘I would really like a blanket chest for the foot of the bed.’

The flash of inspiration hit me as if someone had taken a flying roundhouse kick to my forehead. If I couldn’t find the right gift in a store for my wife, why shouldn’t I build the right gift?

The only problems I could identify in my plan were 1) I had no idea what to do and 2) I didn’t have the tools to make it happen. Hmmm. These were going to be some tough hurdles to overcome.

And, its not as if I was getting much encouragement. My coworkers basically told me I was crazy. Too much work. Too expensive to buy the necessary tools. Too complicated for me to figure out.

Fortunately, fate stepped in. A builders supply store was going out of business and had most of the tools I needed to get the job done right on clearance, including a doweling jig. They were also blowing out their lumber. I picked through the racks of No. 2 pine to find the ones with the straightest edges and yes, I even picked up a sheet of 1/4″ BC interior construction plywood for the box.

What was I thinking?

Are the construction plans orthodox for this project? Nope. No one but me would advocate you build this way – unless you are starting out. And you had no real tools. And, no one was going to look at it.

When I was finished, you thought I had painted the Mona Lisa. It wasn’t square. The finish was terrible. Heck, it didn’t even sit level on the floor.

But, my wife was pleased to see that I had actually finished a real project. And, it actually held blankets. She gave me a kiss and told me, “Good work. You might have a future in this…”

Too much fun!

2 thoughts on “My first – err – project”

  1. I imagine when your wife told you how much she enjoyed her present, it made you have the same expression you have in the picture of the monkey getting the air bath – pure delight! Great story, Tom.

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