Turned Table Tops

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Project by Stonekettle posted 05-02-2011 07:54 AM 1770 views 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The wife of an acquaintance of mine found a beautiful small wrought-iron two-level table frame.

Lovely, simple, and elegant.

Ideal for a sun room or a porch, a perfect perch for a Christmas cactus or a vase or some kind of porcelain Foofery.

You know, like that.

Problem was, it came with a couple of Jiminy-Fixit inserts made from grade-B plywood by somebody who might have once pounded a nail into a 2×4 as the sum total of his woodworking experience.

The wife was unhappy with this situation and asked her husband to make better ones.

Unfortunately, the sum total of his woodworking experience was that he once pounded a nail into a 2×4, it bent, he smashed his thumb and vowed never to risk damaging a hammer like that again.

All was not lost however, my acquaintance once gifted his lovely wife with one of my turned exotic hardwood pens and as my office is full of my craft, he suggested to his wife that much less pain would ensue for all parties if I was assigned the task. The wife, knowing him (and not knowing me), agreed to this foolish course of action and suggested that he ask me and offer to pay.

He did.

And I said, “Sure, couple of small table tops. No problem. Have it done in a jiffy.”

I took the table frame home.

I was busy that first weekend and didn’t get to it.

I was busy the second weekend too.

And the third.

Eventually I just sort of forgot about it. Which I’m sort of prone to do. At least I think I am anyway, I forget. I often sit in the shop. I talk to my cat and drink a beer and maybe another beer. Time passes. Eventually my wife comes to make sure I haven’t killed myself by lopping off something vital on the tablesaw. I’m not really sure what happens there in my happy place, and I don’t really care.

After about a month or so, my friend politely asked me about it, “Say, wife wants to know…if it’s not too much trouble…”

“No problem, Friend, this weekend for sure.”

“You’re the best!”

“Aw shucks!”

And I went home and put the table frame in the middle of my main work area, between the primary saw and the big lathe, where I would see it and remember.

Somewhere around the sixth week, or maybe it was the seventh, I moved that damned table frame out of my way because I was tired of tripping over it.

Time passed.

I communed with ShopKat and Mr. George Killian (God bless that Irishman).

Somewhere, stars flickered and went out.

Summer fled and winter was upon us and I switched from beer to whiskey as befitting the change in weather.

My acquaintance mentioned in passing that the wife thought a plant would look good on that table. In the spring. You know.

Boy, you don’t have hit me over the head with the obvious. Well, I mean, you can, but it won’t help.

It seems that some more time passed. The exact amount is open to debate, but radio carbon dating appears to be involved.

My acquaintance finally cornered me in my office.

“She’s threatening to kill me, then cut up my body with a chainsaw and feed the pieces into the leaf chipper.”

“Have you tried buying her flowers? That’ll usually get you another week.”

“Have mercy, you flinty bastard! You have to help me!”

“Anything. You want I should drive you to a shelter? We could get some beers on the way, you know it’s almost spring?”

“Please, God, I’m begging you. It’s been six damned months!”

“Really? Six months. That’s it? I’ve procrastinated for far, far longer than that. There was this one time…”

“Oh God, please!”

“Hey, it’s not me she’s threatening to go all Fargo on.”

“I’ll pay you double!”

“Hmmm double you say?”

“Triple, you bastard! And I’ll bring you coffee for a week.”

“Well, now we’re talking. Besides what are friends for, right? And hey, Buddy, for your own sake, be careful around this woman, she sounds like a real psycho.”

Eventually I did get around to finishing the tabletops. They’re made from Alaskan birch with walnut medallions. I understand my friend’s wife was quite happy with them – at least she let him live.

-- Jim Wright, Stonekettle Station

6 comments so far

View Bob Collins's profile

Bob Collins

2520 posts in 3709 days

#1 posted 05-02-2011 08:04 AM

Well worth the wait but tell his wife that. Great job on the table tops. Is he still your mate?

-- Bob C, Australia. Your best teacher is your last mistake.

View peteg's profile


4299 posts in 2848 days

#2 posted 05-02-2011 09:56 AM

Nice job Jim, I need to find a 6 sided chuck so I can turn these sort a tops as well : )))))
came out well in the end (no pressure like from the little Lady yer right)

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View saddletramp's profile


1180 posts in 2664 days

#3 posted 05-02-2011 01:07 PM

Nice tops. Good story, it reminds me of Patrick McMannus. ;^)))

-- ♫♪♪♫♫ Saddletramp, saddletramp, I'm as free as the breeze and I ride where I please, saddletramp ♪♪♪♫♪ ...... Bob W....NW Michigan (Traverse City area)

View spunwood's profile


1202 posts in 2862 days

#4 posted 05-02-2011 01:34 PM

Very funny. And nice work too!

-- I came, I was conquered, I was born again. ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν

View patron's profile (online now)


13607 posts in 3367 days

#5 posted 05-02-2011 01:59 PM

hey what’s the rush
it takes 6 months for the metal
just to acclimate to the shop humidity

smart to move it out of your way too
spilling beer is such a waste

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3044 days

#6 posted 05-02-2011 05:45 PM

I must say that I hope you post more projects with the stories and anecdotes! I really enjoyed this one and so did the Li’l Woman! You made my laugh for the day!

Table tops not bad either!

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

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