The project is not made of exotic wood. It is not a complicated piece of furniture. It does not have sophisticated joinery. It is finished only with house paint. Normally, I would consider a project like this to be a simple throw away project made for the fun of it but not very important at all. This time was very different though. It would be turn out to be the most important project of my life.
The project was commissioned by my six year old daughter, Jacqueline. She came to me about a month before Mother’s Day. She asked me if I could help her make a Mother’s Day gift for Mommy. I had no idea what she had in mind, but I quickly said yes.
When I asked what she wanted to make, she told me four hearts on a piece of wood. She then began to describe it to me and half an hour later she stopped talking. I was amazed by how much thought she had already given it. Then she told me that she wanted to go down stairs (where the shop is) and pick out some wood. So we did, she looked at every piece of scrap that I had to see if it was the right size.
Every day for a week and a half a drawing came home from kindergarten of the project design. Every day it was more refined and more detailed. At first it was just the four hearts; one for Mommy, one for Daddy, one for her, and one for Bailey (her Golden Retriever). Then the flowers were added, monotone at first. Then color and stems were added. Finally, the leafs on the stem were added. The colors were changed as were the proportions of the hearts and the flowers. The hearts and flowers went from horizontal on the base to vertical.
At the end of the week and a half, she presented me with a picture and said “this is what I want to make”. It was very detailed, but of course not to scale. So I began to try and convert the picture into a plan. Every night she would sit with me while I tried to sketch full size plans. She was very particular. The base isn’t big enough, the hearts are two small, the bud is the wrong size on the flower etc. It just doesn’t look right. surprisingly, she never got frustrated or bored. She just wanted to get it right. She was determined.
When the plans were completed, Jacqueline announced that she wanted to help make it. She stated “You can use the really dangerous saw Daddy [the tablesaw], but I want to help with everything else” and she did. She didn’t complain about the hearing protectors, the dust mask or the face shield. Each night when we entered the shop she would remind me to give her the ear thingy and her mask and face, as she called them. It took us a while to cut the shapes on the scrollsaw; of course, there were several pieces that had to be scraped but she stayed with it and got them all done. When she was done she took each piece to the disk sander to smooth and remove any rough edges. _*It seemed to take forever. It didn’t matter though, my daughter was working the wood, and liking it
Jacqueline and I went to Home Depot to pick up some paint. I thought it would be a quick in and out trip. I should have known better. It wasn’t good enough to pick a purple, pink, yellow and green. They had to be just the right shades. She looked at every color swatch they had, in each of the racks. She even compared each of the selected colors to the others to make sure the color palette would not clash. I was amazed.
We painted each piece, with three coats, prior to final assembly. Throughout the project she was very concerned that we would be finished on time. She constantly asked “are we going to make it Daddy.” One night she stayed up an extra hour past her bed to finish the painting.
On Mother’s Day morning she was so excited and proud. It was all she could do to wait until after breakfast in bed was was done to give her gift to Mommy. Of course Mommy loved it. Jacqueline insisted on telling Mommy exactly how she made. My wife had known we were working on a surprise for her, but she had no idea what or how much effort Jacqueline was putting into it. She was amazed. Then she told Mommy what the symbolism was “the hearts are the four of us and the flowers are flowers that will always bloom like the love in our hearts for each other.” I almost cried when I heard that. Needless to say it was a great success.
I think I have a new LumberJock in the family. I had better move up the purchase of my SawStop!
-- Jack T, John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life."