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Monday, May 19, 2014

Reconstruction Projects

First, congratulations (and thanks--she suggested some OTC remedies that actually worked better than the prescription I was given!) to my sister, S Dawg, who just finished earning her Masters in Nursing this past week! I am sure she (and her husband and children) will be happy to be *merely* working full time, rather than working full time and going to school full time simultaneously!  I don't know how she did it.  She's way more efficient than I am.

Second, in addition to re-doing my old coffee table (the Russian motif one), I am tinkering with a giant Maitland-Smith armoire with a mirrored door which will eventually be the main piece of clothes-holding furniture in my downstairs bedroom (once I am done with the modifications, I intend to move all my apparel from the upstairs room I initially thought would be mine--before the memory-foam mattress fiasco--and it will become a guest bedroom).  As I paid very little (and it had several obvious superficial issues that I knew were fixable), I knew it was a project piece when I bought it (Maitland-Smith is a high-end North Carolina furniture maker, and this item originally retailed for several thousand dollars).  One outstanding flaw, at least in my mind, was the stupid little fence of bamboo it had stuck along the top edge--neither in architecture nor in furniture design have I ever liked purely decorative railings.  I knew I was going to pull that sucker off the minute I saw it.

As frequently happens when one buys a pig in a poke, even at a bargain, there were a couple of condition problems that the eBay seller didn't mention that were obvious when the thing arrived on my doorstep.  Oddly, at least two of these were not the result of any abuse on the part of the previous owner, but were issues that could be placed squarely at the feet of the M-S designers: the use of tiny wood screws to hold on the back panel of the drawer-chest (it had popped off in transit, but will be easily re-attachable with longer screws), and, damningly, the fact that the mirrored door wouldn't close properly, because the dinky little hinges on the top and bottom were warped.  I took the hinges off and weighed the door on my postal scale: 32 lbs.  That's a whopper of a door (very well-made and solid), and it defies the laws of physics and all common sense to think that two wee little brass bits no more than 2mm thick would be able to sustain it in place, much less allow it to swing freely.

So, I have been learning a lot about hinges (my brother Nate told me I need to get "offset knife hinges" to replace the bad originals and I watched a how-to video on YouTube to assure myself that I would be able to install them once I procured the right ones--they aren't available locally, but thank God for the internet!  I plan to get ones that can handle up to 200 lbs.) and other things. For example, I did not know that 3/8" hardwood wasn't to be had at Lowes--they have that thickness in soft pine, but not in something more robust, which is what I need to fill a notch in the side of one of the drawers.  It turns out, that size of wood is mostly "to the trade" of cabinetmakers, so I sent off an email to the fellow who re-did my mother's kitchen, asking him if he had any scraps (it's not like I need a lot).  Worse comes to worst, I'll use a piece of 1/2" red oak and sand the dickens out of it before I cut it to fit.  I also need to install some shelves--the pins are there to hold them, but the shelves themselves are AWOL.  I may just end up using something cheap for these for the short-term.  I can beg wood scraps, I'm going to hunt for the hinges online, and I have already successfully removed the bamboo fence railing, but I'm not putting more money into this until I have income.  That said, it's turning out really beautifully on the outside, and it's solid, so other than the aforementioned quirks, I'm pleased.

I have a local jewelry event tentatively planned for the end of June--it's at a children's fashion show (not "Toddlers & Tiaras", just pretty girls' dresses!).  I'm scraping along meantime, trying to turn time (of which I have an abundance) into money (of which I have none).

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