Woodworking

Spring was in the air on the weekend. You could tell. The streets were busy with traffic, and walkers who had put their walking shoes away for the winter were out on the sidewalks Saturday enjoying the first glimpse of spring.
My wife charmed me into going for a walk. She likes to get out a minimum of four days a week for a 40-minute walk. The offer came at an opportune moment—it allowed me to procrastinate for a while longer before I swept up the wood shavings and sawdust in my woodshop.
Together we headed for the river and walked the waterfront. One of the nice things about the river walk is that even in winter the river stays ice-free.
The deep blue of the river, with the sun beating down on our backs, sparked a conversation of being up the lake. We plan to be at the cabin in two months. I guess you can say we’re optimistic.
I have been building deck furniture for the past two months and much of it is reaching completion. And when we returned, Marnie suggested we should just put the two deck chairs out in front of the garage and catch some rays.
I’ll admit the suggestion and the sun were a real temptation.
I am using district cedar for the chairs and table. I had picked up the wood in rough form early in January from Manitou Lumber, where Dale Kaemingh had taken me to the various wood piles of cedar.
The wood had been cut in the fall and had been air drying. We often refer to our cedar as yellow cedar, and it is quite different in colour from the red cedar of British Columbia.
District cedar can change from red to yellow to white. I haven’t tried to match the colours as I cut and assembled the chairs and table. The colours all come together randomly.
Gold is the most prominent colour. And after several coats of urethane, the wood seems to glow with a sunset sheen.
Woodworking is a hobby of mine. When you start with rough wood, you never know what you will discover in the board as it is planed. It may be a dark knot, or the concentric circles of grain may form an arrowhead.
It may be the straightness of the grain and the board may not even have a blemish. Each board is unique and when you finish the wood in its natural state, the pieces of furniture seem to leap to life.
I had laid down the broom and turned off the vacuum to go for the walk. The top of the table had been sanded until it was a smooth as silk and felt as soft as down. There was a considerable amount of dust in the air, and allowing it to settle to the floor and work benches was a good idea.
When we returned, I took one of the chairs, opened the garage door, and pretended I was sitting on the deck at the cabin. The sun was warm to my face and it allowed for just a moment more of procrastination.
I spent the balance of the afternoon sweeping and vacuuming the wood shop. On Sunday, the first of several coats of finish were going to be applied to the tabletop. The wood would begin changing colours again.
Eventually, the top will become that warm golden colour with muted shades of brown and reds and it will come to life. The table and chairs will grace the deck.
In the meantime, it was fun to escape winter for the afternoon.

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