Sparks Fly

Linda G. Hill has started the conversation at the bar this week and, in following the rules for the Stream of Consciousness Saturday, I guess I need to skip the “If we were having a beer…” introduction. Well, if we were having a beer, my buddy would be curious. If you’re curious about SoCS, the prompt is:

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is ‘start with a noun.’ Start your post with a noun, and write about whatever it is. Have fun!


“ ‘Sparks were flying’ is supposed to be a figure of speech. What the heck was going on in your driveway last Sunday?”

“I was cutting the parts for the legs to my coffee table.”

“You’re making another coffee table?”

“Yes.”

“As long as you’re not making a bar. You boys want the usual?”

“I’ll start with a Corona, Cheryl. Get the old man whatever he wants.”

“The old man will have a vodka tonic.”

“In a snifter, with a glass of ice on the side – in the future, this will be known as ‘the usual with vodka’ – you guys are so easy.”

“So, you made a coffee table. Then you gave it away. Now you’re making another one?”

“It sounds worse when you say it like that, but yes.”

“Are you going to give this one away?”

“Maybe, I don’t know. Who cares?”

“The man with the vodka seems to care. Here’s your beer, Dan.”

“Thanks Cheryl.”

“I don’t mean to pry – thanks for the drink – but it’s a fair question.”

“I need a coffee table for my office, and I enjoy making furniture. That’s as far as I’ve taken this.”

“You know what they say – people fail to plan.”

“Huh? Who says that?”

“I say that. I say that…when people ask me for help with retirement planning.”

“Oh, yeah, ‘fail to plan vs. plan to fail’ I think I saw that on an episode of M*A*S*H.”

“I remember that episode. But, back to your coffee table, are you failing to plan or planning to fail?”

“I’m not planning, but I don’t anticipate failing.”

“Do you know what failure looks like?”

“Ha! – didn’t you see him a couple of weeks ago with the stiches in his finger? This guy knows what failure looks like.”

“Thanks Cheryl. It’s good to know you’re in my corner.”

“Actually, I was just checking to see if you boys want some food.”

“Apparently we’re guilty of failing to plan on that front.”

“I’m not hungry at the moment, but maybe later.”

“I think that’s a unanimous maybe, Cheryl, but I will have another beer – I do know what empty looks like.”

“When you retire, what becomes of the new coffee table.”

“I don’t know.”

“Are you taking it home?”

“No, we don’t have a need for it and it’s not the style my wife likes.”

“So then, you’re planning to fail?”

“No, I’m not.”

“You’re going to be in your office, in about a year and a half, not knowing what to do with this table, in which you’ve invested time and money. How is that not failure?”

“The slab of wood was forty bucks – someone gave me the steel I used for the legs.”

“Have you heard of opportunity cost? You are spending time working on it.”

“Yeah, but it’s not like my employer would pay me extra if I went to work on Sunday afternoon.”

“Still, you could do other things with your time.”

“Yes, I could sit at this bar with someone who supports my having a hobby.”

“That’s fair, but it still seems like a waste if you end up throwing it away.”

“I won’t throw it away. Worst case, I’ll take the legs off, cut the slab in half and mount the two pieces to the wall as free-floating shelves.”

“Oooh, that would look sweet. Here’s your beer.”

“Thanks Cheryl.”

“You’re welcome, let me know if you want some food.”

“You know…”

“…an order of twenty wings. I’ll get it in now, you guys are too easy today.”

“How do you mount those shelves, the ones that look like they’re floating?”

“You drill holes in the edge, screw some lag-bolts into the wall and cut the heads off. Slip the holes over the shank of the bolts.”

“What keeps them from sliding back off?”

“Newton’s first law.”

“You really are a wise guy.”

“Things don’t spontaneously move away from a wall.”

“I thought you had cats.”

“I do.”

“Well, with my cats, objects at rest don’t seem to stay at rest…until they’re on the floor.”

“Good point. I could drill a hole and insert a pin in the bolt.”

“Now, that’s a plan!”


The pictures illustrate the progress to-date on the coffee table. The sparks photo was carefully staged to avoid any danger. Click on any picture to begin a slide show if you want to read the full captions. And check out the handsome guy Cheryl has been hanging around with.

Many of my readers will understand this cartoon.

71 thoughts on “Sparks Fly

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  1. Great story and read every caption – you’ve done a terrific job!! But that final picture and my memories of elementary school experiments (home and school) had me cracking up this morning. Thanks!!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The table is great, I love raw edge furniture. I should have mentioned that before, but I was busy laughing at myself, my experiments and realizing you might have done the same ones!!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m trying to preserve that edge as best I can. I love the color of this slab, but the condition was worse than it appeared. I think the current look is stable. It is fun to remember those silly experiments.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Pam. I’ll have to see how well it’s received. There were several people who wanted the previous table. I don’t want to cause trouble. It was easy to give the other one to a guy who was leaving.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You know I love your furniture making, and this is no exception. But, I’m thinking that when you retire the table should be a raffle for all the retired folks who read your blog and live within driving distance to pick it up. :-) Happy beautiful weekend to you and yours and enjoy your Maddie walks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmmm, I wonder what kind of demographic that would be ;-) So far, this project has not been going according to plan, but I like where it’s heading at the moment. Now the fun starts.

      Maddie and I went for today’s walk at 6:30 – trying to beat the crowd. We were partially successful. It does look like it’s going to be a nice day.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. 👏🏻Oooohhh, that table looks amazing. I love that slab of wood! Too bad the rotted part was not salvageable but still….it is a beautiful table. Such talent. I understand about hobbies and the need to create. I have a chest full of jewelry that I have been told is fantastic and have yet to find the right venue to sell it. I sell a piece here or there but mostly give it away for special occasions. And yet, I can’t stop making things…way to go, Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Cheryl. I know this piece won’t be hanging around for very long, but I enjoy making it more than having it, so I get my joy early. There is something special about taking a hunk of wood that is considered (judging by the price) to be useless, and a piece of scrap metal and turning them into a functional piece of furniture.

      I hope you’re having a great #free48

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is going very well thank you. I hope yours is relaxing. I totally get what you are describing about making something beautiful out of a seeming discard. I just love saving wood like that. Way to go!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. “Things don’t spontaneously move away from a wall.”

    A perfect summation of middle school dances. Girls along one wall, boys along the other– and there we stayed… until prodded out on the dance floor by a teacher.

    [Not your meaning, but that’s what I thought of.]

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks Janet. The sofa and chair in my office is (I think) brown with either yellow or gold accents. I think this will go well with it. If not, I’ll just hang a sign on it to remind people that I’m color blind.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Love the photo of the sparks! The table is going to be outstanding…..can tell at this early stage. I admire that you take your time with these projects and do it right. Some people skip over every step they can and wind up saying, “good enough”. But half-ass is never good enough. Glad you take such pride in everything you do. And believe me, it shows!!

    Sure you can’t find a niche for it at home? MiMi and MuMu would claim it for their own in a NY minute!!
    🔹 Ginger 🔹

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Ginger. These things take time, but I enjoy the work, so it’s easy.

      When I was making the last table, I wanted to make sure the leg set was the right height. I brought it inside and set it next to the couch in the family room. Withing seconds, MiMi jumped up on it and started picking at the holes and the bark edge. I’m pretty sure she would destroy it in less than a week.

      The other reason we don’t have a coffee table is Maddie. Setters don’t seem to know where their tails are. The last time we had a coffee table, our first setter would whap everything onto the floor as soon as she got excited.

      Like

  6. “Things don’t spontaneously move away from a wall.”

    “I thought you had cats.”

    Yup….

    Also, there has got to be something in there about cats batting those little fasteners from IKEA down the heat register.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Indeed. Our fist cat was famous for taking a small packet of screws that were supposed to hold part of our fireplace doors together. I went to the hardware store to replace them. Only after installing them and then painting the screw heads black, did we find where Oreo had hidden the pack of black screws.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. About cats and pushing things? Absolute truth! But, of course, you knew I knew that.

    Funny, I’ve been thinking about all of the “stuff” in my office that wouldn’t fit anywhere at home – pictures, plants, knick-knacks. Not sure what I’m going to do with everything when I retire other than keep what truly means something to me and perhaps have an office “garage sale” with the rest.

    As for your coffee table, I bet one of your co-workers would take it off your hands for office or at home for $50 because you can’t go to a furniture store and get a hand-crafted coffee table for that price.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I knew you would understand about cats.

      I have a bunch of pictures at work that won’t have a place at home. I’ll figure it out, or give them away. The table will likely find a home. I like it to find a good home. Maybe the guy who took the other one will want it.

      I hope you’re having a great weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I always love your woodworking posts, Dan. I look forward to seeing the finished product. It was fascinating to see the color of the wood change as it was leveled. The wood grain is beautiful.
    The cat meme is fabulous! Definitely proof that the world was never flat. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Teagan. It was rewarding to see that color and grain start to emerge as I was planing the slab. I was really happy to see that the color change from the rotted end does extend into the good part of the wood. I think it will look good.

      And yes, clearly the world was never flat ;-)

      Liked by 1 person

  9. The thing about cutting the slab in two and turning it into shelves reminded me of Bill Cosby’s thing about shop class in high school, where everything made turned out to be an ashtray. He’d mess it up, cut two grooves into it…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. That is one fine looking table, Dan. Funny about cats jumping on things…..Teemu was the only one of mine who ever jumped. You’d walk into the kitchen and he would be on top of the refrigerator. He kept this very zen look on his face and never meowed to come down, either. Parker jumps on the bed or the living room chair. That’s it. She’d look at your floating shelves and say, “Nice job, Dan.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Our daughter’s tuxedo likes to sit on the fridge. Scares me sometimes when I’m watching them. Our little girl is a climber. She would study the shelves until she figured a way up. MuMu would be with Parker.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. That’s a very cool looking piece of wood. It’s like you’re doing art for art’s sake, but you have a plan. I saw a video recently of someone making table tops by putting a wood slab in a frame and pouring resin around it and between the cracks.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I wish I had these skills and tools. I am usually good at papercraft because that is what we are taught in school. If I had carpentry skills believe me my home would have had some of the whackiest furniture in my town. Great job.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah. A lot of people think of me as disciplined and ordered which no doubt I’m. However, only few close ones know my real nature. When I’m in my element I am someone else. Maybe someday I might share some secrets with you. I have already shared a few with you in comments and regular talks.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I enjoyed this play-by-play. Cool trick about making a filling paste using saw dust and glue, but I was disappointed when you didn’t take us all the way to the finished product. We were left hanging!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry to disappoint you, but it’s still a work in progress. I realized I wouldn’t be able to tell the whole story in one post. If the weather holds, I am planning to weld the legs together today (I do that outside). I won’t leave you hanging forever. Thanks for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! A lot of people wanted the other one. I’m not sure this one will garner the same level of interest, but I’m sure I’ll be able to find a good home for it when I’m done using it.

      Like

  14. Dan, I am 100% with you. When a hobby comes along that you love, that is all that is important. You’ll know what to do with that coffee table that you are now making when the time comes. Tell that to your friends. *wink* I LOVE the texture and the grain and the contrast in this slab of wood. It is going to look outstandingly gorgeous when you are finished with it. There is nothing IMO like working with your hands to create something only you dream of making. Great job!! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Ah, another wood slab beauty on the way! Not everything needs to be a trade for monetary compensation. While I understand the economic concept that everything has value, when my basic needs are met, I tend to put more value on pleasure and creation. This coffee table is a worthy pursuit, and I won’t be surprised where it goes when, or with whom. People will like it, you enjoyed making it, a fair trade, per se. Creation is never wasted. Also, it’s nice to be nice :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I might have to have one more “in progress” report (I take too many pictures). The legs have been welded but not yet assembled into the base. I’m still playing around with ideas for that.

      Liked by 1 person

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