|Project by Texan||posted 01-30-2007 08:36 PM||1451 views||0 times favorited||13 comments|
When first I saw that my dear brother Don had posted the hutch that I had made in my youth, I was thrilled. (See “Colonial Hutch” in Projects, posted a few days ago). Unfortunately, I jumped to the erroneous conclusion that he was preparing to return it to me after some forty-three years of separation, and that finally he had taken pity on my impoverished state now that I’m unemployed and having a bit of a struggle getting by out here in the Texas countryside.
Alas, my silly expectation proved short lived, and it appears that he was only using the world wide web to have a little good-natured fun at my expense. I don’t wish to imply that he’s mean-spirited by nature, but since our earliest childhood he was always the “golden child” in our little Canadian family, and our parents never interfered with his youthful pranks. It just seemed right that Mom should like him best.
But during this short-lived time of euphoria, I read some of the comments made by my new-found friends on Lumberjocks.com, and there I happened upon a suggestion by Dick Cain that possibly I could show some of Don’s early projects. Maybe something dating back to his youth all those many years ago.
It just so happens that I had saved one of his earliest works, something I have treasured and carried with me over these many years as sort of a keepsake. It has kept alive the connection with the older brother that I have always looked up to, admired (and yes, dear woodworking brothers, can I be so bold as to say), loved so much. For even though he has kept my hutch all down these years, and caused me so much unintentional hurt, he is still my “big brother”. I don’t have anything but admiration for how he has ended up living in retired splendor in sub-tropical Australia, surrounded by the finest furniture money can buy, while I have to stack the few dishes that I do have on an old cardboard box on the floor of my cabin. At least I can say that it’s a fine cardboard box, and that I came by it honestly while out collecting beer cans along the roadsides of Texas. It doesn’t bring in much, but it’s honest work, and one day I hope to stumble across an old wooden apple crate, and move up from the cardboard box in my cabin on the edge of the desert.
So, here are some pictures of Don’s first project that I treasure so much.
The first shows the subtle (if not somewhat eclectic) combination of materials in the project. The use of plywood, particle board and natural wood lends itself to the sense of harmony and purpose. I feel it’s the project’s finest strength. But look at the second picture carefully, and you will see the sheer genius of my brother’s artistry.
This is a finishing technique that I have never seen anywhere else, before or since, on a finely crafted piece of woodwork. Don achieved this effect by carefully cutting a common Russet potato into a square on one end, and then, by carefully dipping the square end into common green, water-based paint and pressing it onto the particle board, he reproduced the green square into a continuing “checkerboard” pattern. In one stroke of woodworking epiphany he created an almost poetic simplicity of finish that instantly draws the eye of the beholder! Can you see now why I admire him and his almost unbelievable talent? It’s humbling to share this same DNA.
And so my dear Lumberjock brothers, please don’t be too hard on Don for not returning my hutch. All down through history men of genius have had their little eccentricities, and mankind has given them a pass because of their greater gifts. I live in the hope that one day he will send it to me, or at least invite me over so I can see it again before I die.
I’m sorry it took so long to make this posting, but I have to travel 35 some-odd miles by mule into Dripping Springs to use the computer in the public library. (I can’t afford a computer just yet, but hope to if scrap aluminum stays up. Regardless I should have the money before they run the electricity out here.)
-- Dripping Springs, Texas