Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I've Been Framed!

I’ve been trying to get started back up on some projects that I’ve sort of set aside over time.

To those of you who are familiar with my approach to projects: I apologize for the state of your computer screen and keyboard, which, I would assume, are now drenched with the bourbon you undoubtedly sprayed from your mouth and nose upon reading that.

I tend to get harebrained inspired ideas for things that I could spend time on rather than, oh, say, actually doing something productive with my life. These ideas vary quite widely in terms of scope and ambition – on the grand end, there are such activities as turning an oversized closet into a master bathroom. At the other end of the spectrum, there are smaller-scale things like tying my shoes.

Disirregardless of scale, however, most of these projects share a common attribute: they rarely get finished. Take a look down the next time you see me … there’s a fair chance that one shoelace will be flopping around like a French soccer player. It’s one reason I avoid escalators. In the rare instance I do finish a project, the start-to-finish time is usually best described in units of years, rather than days or weeks.

The current project of interest is the construction of a pair of picture frames. I bought a couple of Will Bullas prints at Art In The Park last year, which have since been kept in a somewhat underviewed location on a desktop beneath a bunch of matte board in my dining room. Now THAT’S a hundred and thirty dollars well-spent! The tragedy of them not being on the wall is all the worse when you consider the brilliance of the art itself:

Above: Baby needs a new pair of shoes!

One of the problems with living alone is that there is often a complete absence of compulsion to maintain a presentable environment. Obviously, this means that I sweep up dog hair and wash dishes with FAR less regularity than common sense (and county health codes, I would think) dictates. Less obvious is that things like hanging art on the wall in an effort to class up the joint rarely happen. But every once in a while, like right after the longest solar eclipse that will occur this millennium, I get a little itch to try to actually make Casa de Acorn a bit more refined.

Hence the frames.

Rather than doing something as sensible as taking the prints to a frame shop and letting the experts do their thing, I stopped in at the Depot* and picked up about 11’ of 1"x2" poplar. It being a Sunday morning, I naturally wasn’t in a state to actually do the math to calculate how much I would need, but that seemed like plenty. That certainly won’t be the last time I’ve been wrong in such matters.

Here, then, is a brief synopsis of the events that transpired over the next two days:

1) Cut the groove for the print/glass on the back side.

2) Realized that I should have rounded the inner edge before cutting the groove, making the router work somewhat freehand and substantially more dangerous (though this fits my general 3B approach to woodworking: Beer, Blades, ‘n’ Blood).

3) Cut a decorative groove on the front side.

4) Measured the pieces using the ruler on the router table, placing one edge of the wood at inch 1, so that all of the pieces were 1” too short.

5) Realized my error after cutting; swore; giggled a bit at my incompetence.

(next day)

6) Went back to the Depot, bought 16’ of 1"x2" poplar, having actually done some math.

7) Did the router part first (yay me!), cut both the backside and frontside grooves.

8) Did the exact same fucking thing with the measuring and cutting, though this time, there was enough wood to finish one frame.

Net result: 27’ of wood gone; 1 21”x15” picture frame finished; lots of kindling in the wood box for camping.

Norm Abram ain’t got nuthin’ on me.

* I know that Home Depot is a right-wing corporate cesspool of an organization, and I do try to go to local hardware stores and lumber yards. Sometimes, though, in my weaker moments, I submit to the foul temptress of convenience.

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