Until we got into this
recent discussion regarding whether we work with or
without plans, I'd sort of forgotten how it is I do go
about making things.
I am not opposed to plans,
but I have never found a set that was simple enough for
me to follow without screwing up some part of it. It is
then that I toss the plan and go on blind luck and
A few years ago I decided I
was going to take the springs off my great-great
grandparents buckboard seat - it was in sad shape - and
make a coffee table. I had the Sycamore and Osage
Orange all picked out. It was a straight forward
plan until I put it all together and it listed to one
end rather badly. I had envisioned a spring-loaded
coffee table that would be stable when necessary and a
kid could jump on it if the need arose.
What I forgot was that the
man who drove this wagon most of the time had about 150
lbs on his wife and the springs were a testament to that
weight differential. So, I was forced to take the
"spring" oughta the thing and put walnut posts at each
end to prop up the sagging spring. It fixed the
slope and it still looked good.
Then the swearing
started. And I think I started it. While
coming across the room in the dark I kicked the end of a
spring that protruded. I liked to broke a lot of
things when I sat down abruptly to nurse the injury.
Over the next few months this was a scene repeated by
many family members and me.
And somewhere in there I
realized that elderly visitors and children were
particularly susceptible. I began to think about
lawsuits and medical bills and the possibility of "doing
in" my 80 year-old in-laws who tend to toddle about with
limited vision. My wife tried to soothe my angst
by telling me what a beautiful table it was, but the
bottom line was - it had to leave the living room. So,
today it is relegated to a room where feet do not
interact with the metal springs and it is covered in
magazines. Maybe a plan would have helped, but I
I now know one more way not
to build a table. Perhaps the moral of the story
is that even if you work without a plan you might want
to think through the ramifications of your idea.
I'll leave my next "plan"
for another day, but suffice it to say that I read
somewhere that you could make a leaf shredder by
de-constructing an old reel mower and then powering it
with an electron-burning source of power. There
was some woodwork and a large plastic garbage can
involved in the plot as well. It is a prototype
that is not discussed in polite company, but for all its
oddities, I do have most of my fingers intact.
But my dignity is still