|Project by Scott Key||posted 07-02-2007 06:07 AM||1882 views||0 times favorited||14 comments|
After I graduated from high school in 2005, I headed off to Nigeria for a good chunk of my summer. The expressed purpose was building onto a hospital in Egbe, fixing a water filtration plant for that same hospital, fixing some generators and electrical switches, and evangelizing in the bush. Well while I was their I had some free time and asked for something small but practical to keep me occupied. The missionaries that lived their asked if I could build them a new table. The current one was under 3 foot and when you have to make your own bread, it was tiring to bend over that far to kneed. So, having absolutely no knowledge (I didn’t even know what a router was or did) or experience set out to build a taller table.
In Nigeria, the throw away wood in Mahogany (not the best wood for a beginner I learned). So I started out by gathering wood. They don’t kiln dry their wood in Nigeria, actually they don’t really dry it at all. The wood that you would buy from a lumber yard was probably in tree form the day before. Luckily, the missionary, Chuck, kept a stack of wood that he dried himself on hand.
I came up with a rough design and started cutting. My tools were a circular saw, a pitiful cordless drill that lost power every 15 minutes, a router with steel bits, and a jointer with a very dull blade.
The basic design was nothing to brag about. Four legs made of 4×4’s, a “rail road” shelf (that’s what I call it anyway), and a plywood top with some trim around the edges coated with throw away Wilson-Art plastic laminate that they ship off to third world countries (after first sanding their name of the back, making it even thinner and more brittle). To set a screw in the wood, you had to first predrill then coat the screw in oil. With a crappy drill, that makes for a long process.
Anyway, I made a lot of mistakes. Got a lot of sawdust in my eyes. Ruined several router bits and countless Philips head bits. Developed a hatred for nearly every woman on the trip who seemed to have an opinion of what I should do and what I was doing wrong. And gained a lot of useful knowledge, an appreciation for good quality tools, and more importantly a love for woodworking.
-- -- a bad day woodworking is better than a good day at work --