This is what a table looks like when itís plucked from the fields and harvested at the peak of freshness. Just for the record, those are #6 x 1/4Ē screws and L-brackets to match. Iíd just come back from home depot and facing such a daunting task, the best idea seemed to be laying out all my supplies and taking pictures like a doofus.
Star Trek and drugs saw me through many hours of intense sanding. My specially designed protective floor covering was not large enough to prevent a huge quantity sawdust from encroaching upon every single thing in my entire room including my nostrils and my underpants. Jared promised it would be an organic experience and thus nothing to worry about so Iím letting the dust become one with my carpet.
I went to my local hardware corner store (which also sells art supplies!!) and bought a can of Honey poly stain, a can of plain polyurethane and a can of red mahogany stain. I also picked up a handful of cheap-o brushes. That same day, I stole a bunch of cups from work. I mixed my own red mahogany polyurethane finish in a jar. I am a mad scientist.
Unfortunately, my l33t sanding skillz were not as wicked rad as I assumed them to be, leading to a number of torn up brushes and interesting pattarns of dark wavy lines on the tabletop during the first coat. You could still see the pencil marks where I had originally planned the lines. I also did not open my window, resulting in a killer headache, but also a killer high.
When the fat brushes did not meet my needs, I got crafty, and started doing mods. The new and improved, ultrabrush was the result. Note: painting something that falls over easily, like the side of a table leg, sucks.
I put down a second coat, thereby destroying more brushes, on both the top and the legs after realizing that flinging everything off my desk to create a workspace was a *very* good idea considering I was using stain. The table looked shinier, but still kind of sucky.
The next Saturday, I woke up early and lugged my table-to-be out onto the roof, tied a shirt around my mouth and nose and went at it with some rather biggish grit sandpaper. In some places, the color came off completely but most of the table just looked scratched up and ashy. My father said that sanding it after each coat of poly (and doing more than two coats) would make the finish look really pretty.
The next coat of poly went on smooth and every brush survived. Unfortunately they were still headed trashward, I was too lazy to clean brushes that cost me a quarter. When coat #2 was dry it was snowing and, since I couldnít sand, I flipped over the tabletop and painted the bottom. Though the stupid snow kept me from going to Boston, it meant more worktime. Yay, I guess.
Uh-oh, Tedd was coming to visit! There was sawdust on my floor, my room smelled strongly of polyurethane and there was a yet to be assembled table on my desk. What to do? I found the answer in a flat sheet. Is it a headless horse? A realistic moonscape with pointy mountains? What could it be? As far as I know, Tedd did not sniff, touch or peek at what was hiding underneath the sheet, possibly because I threatened him with many horrible things like death or no dessert or something.
The second to last coat went on a Monday evening.
It was cold on the roof and also very dark.
The painting of the last coat was a delicate operation, particularly since I had already fucked up a small spot on one of the darker stripes and didnít want to have to lug the darn thing outside to sand again. The operation was so delicate, in fact, that I needed the freedom of a sports bra. Just look at the concentration, folks. Thatís called craftsmanship.
After a substantial amount of drilling on a Tuesday morning and then finding out that the largest drill bit I had was not big enough, which meant drilling some more, I became convinced that my roommate Dermot, whose room is next door to mine, would sleep through a bomb going off right outside. He woke shortly thereafter, though I can"t be sure if it was the drilling or not. He seemed pissed, but thought it was the people next door, so it was all good.
One day at the hardware store, the man behind the counter said that I shouldn"t worry because if I was using a plan, I couldn"t go wrong. I told him that plans cost money and besides, a truly smart person would be able to improvise. Here is the first set of L-brackets doing exactly what I figured they would. Thank God!
I briefly contemplated giving Tedd a three-legged table and implying that it held some kind of artistic meaning, mostly because the legs all looked so sad at their strange angles.
ALL DONE!! Look at that reflection on the wall behind the table. That is the flash bouncing off the tabletop. RIGHT ON, DAD'S GOOD IDEA!
It's a table. You can sit at it!
Or put stuff on it!
Items sacrificed during the making of the Christmas Table:
1 black towel
a 1/3 c. measuring cup
numerous pens and pencils
Trips to various hardware stores:
Inexpensive paintbrushes tossed in the trash after use:
Number of times I could be found sanding on the roof: