Those of you who have read The Anarchist's Tool Chest may find the following story familiar. It was only after this project was underway that I realized that my life had strangely paralleled author Christopher Schwarz’s for a moment.
It’s morning. My wife and I are starting the day: sipping coffee, stirring oatmeal and wondering whether we should wake our nearly three year old. Our eleven month old is keeping us company in the kitchen of our 1 1/2 bedroom apartment. She is sitting in a seat that clamps onto the edge of a table as she has since she has been able to sit up. It allows us to squeeze her into the space between the table and the refrigerator so that this in the one place in the entire apartment that hasn’t been rearranged as a result of her arrival last summer. That is about to change.
The table that she is strapped to is the one that my in-laws gave us when we got married – the same one that they used as newly weds. It’s a drop leaf table (with only one leaf up at the moment) that we have used for three years now without incident. With her feet suspended Elizabeth manages to get the rest of her 25 pounds up in the air. As she lands safely back in her seat on one side, my coffee, on the other side of the table, lands safely in my lap.
That’s when I decide to make a new table. My in-laws have already expressed interest in getting the table back (they like to have large parties for my father in-law’s graduate students and the table has been missed as a buffet) and so I figure it’s time for them to have it back. Starting the following week I had already rented space at school and had a project in mind (seven drawer dresser) but there didn’t seem to be a reason not work on this as well.
Here are some photos the table I am working on as a result of that morning.
2×4s and 4×4s from Home Depot – 50$:
I glued the top up in the three sections:
gluing the three sections up:
flattening the top with a #7 jointer:
Now it was only after starting and committing to some decisions I had made that Schwarz’s Workbench book arrived and I read that he never uses 2×4s. Oh well. I had already thought that at some point this will become either some kind of assembly bench for me (even though the pine is so soft that I doubt it will stay flat enough) or, more likely, a craft table for the girls.
It’s also overkill – There is no reason to make a table with 3 inch thick top and 3 inch square legs just save my coffee from a now nearly one year old. None. The stupid seat won’t even work on a table top that thick. But the whole table just popped into my head as an opportunity to experiment with bench building and so I went for it. This is also the only time I’ve just started making something. I worked out a quick sketch to get the lengths of the stretchers down but that is it.
Thank you for reading!
-- Charles - www.hammcrafted.com