Sunday, February 1, 2009


An easily identifiable practice of unemployed 20-something year old males and preschoolers alike, I "made" (see: didn't "buy") Christmas presents for several members of the McHanslaw clan this past holiday season. Seeing as how I should probably cover this time-sensitive subject matter before the snow melts in Fargo, I'll be profiling two of these yuletide projects on this fine internet destination today.

Well, actually that's not entirely true. I'll be profiling one of these yuletide projects on this fine internet destination today, while the other one of these projects will receive no recognition outside of a photograph and a brief, factual, and wholly uninteresting blurb of explanatory text. Come to think of it, we should probably just get that one out of the way now:

Dad Table

It should come as no surprise to all of you that I did not craft the ornate metal base of this table (currently residing in Father McHanslaw's study), nor did I have anything to do with the creation of the bear statue, miniature globe, or stately desk lamp. No, I just bought that end table base of craigslist then cut, sanded, and treated a top for it. I was able to find a big sheet of oak plywood at Lowes (the rebellious carpenter kids call it "Blowes", but I've never cared much for them) for something like $14, then just did some angled cuts with a jigsaw (because I'm awful with a circular) to get a good shape, and then I stuck some short dowels on the underside of it to fit into the four pipes that run up the length of the base. Nothing terribly complicated, but it certainly gets the job done. And handsomely at that, if I do say so myself.

Alright, on to part two:

Before 1

Before 2

Following the stirring success of my first two tiered coffee table refurbishment, resident Good Rubbish enthusiast Artimus Schmidt Borlovsky brought this marvelously delapidated pile of crap over to the McHanslaw manor in the hopes that I'd refurbish it. I was less than enthused, but then again I feel that way quite often, so I really can't say whether Dr. Borlovsky created my condition or merely aggravated it.

Regardless, originally the plan was that I'd spruce it up within a couple of weeks in exchange for some form of paper currency, but that was before I got this wicked hangnail on one of my fingers that kept me really entranced for months on end, so it became a surprise freebie Christmas gift. Actually, I believe the above "before" photos were taken in my house's living room before the infamous flood of early July, 2008, so that should give you a good idea of exactly how long I scratched my ass on this one (or perhaps more appropriately, "obsessively pulled the skin out from under my fingernail like I was peeling a flesh banana") before actually getting around to working on it.

The table had some obvious structural flaws that I was going to need to address at some point, but it was pretty obvious that I needed to strip the outer wood-like synthetic coating before moving on to anything else, so that's what I did:

Table Sanded

The pleasant surprise with this table (a surprise that flew in the face of my earlier two tiered table's construction) was that under the cheesy synthetic wood-like coating there actually lied some pretty decent looking real wood. The bottom legs appear to have been ravaged by pine beatles or befouled by a man coated in creosote, but as far as the two table surfaces were concerned, staining was definitely an option here. And as the sheets on my twin sized bed can surely attest, when given the opportunity to do so, I choose to stain.

Wait... was that a bedwetting joke or a masturbation joke? Hmm.

Anyway, you might be able to tell from the two "before" pictures, but the wood at the edges of the tables was notably warped and frayed, so I had to glue/clamp those areas back together then fill in the remaining gaps with wood filler before sanding the whole thing smooth.

I could have gone a couple different directions with the paint/stain on this one, but seeing as how it was a gift and not something for my admittedly unconventional (some might say "clown-like") personal collection, I opted to go a little Ethan Allen with the whole thing. Apart from this, Dr. Borlovsky specifically requested that I try to make the end product match the speaker cabinets I had done for him a while back, so I decided to stain the table surfaces with a red oak treatment, then cover the legs with black latex paint.

Oh, just for the sake of complete disclosure, there's actually a set of photographs missing from this part of the project where I set up this really elaborate mess of newspaper and string on a fence at my house, then suspended all of the table legs from said string and spray painted them, then became enraged with the fact that I once again proved myself to be completely incapable of spray painting anything without it ending up being covered with enormous globs of dripping paint, then had to resand all of the legs, THEN got to recover them with a conventional brush-applied paint. Yeah, it happened. Then this is how things looked:

Painted and Stained

I'm not really sure why I included that photo. Basically it just shows the position everything was in when I painted it... not terribly interesting, unless you've really got a thing for masking tape. Whatever, here's what things looked like once everything was reassembled:


If you're interesting in the timeline of this project, that picture was probably taken at about 8:30pm or so on December 23rd, leaving me with JUST enough time to get a few coats of polyurethane on before Christmas morning:


Sweet mother of God, that table is HOT. Damn!

Unfortunately, your friend Enron happens to be really allergic to heavy fumes, so the fact that I didn't finish coating my two Christmas tables with polyurethane until about 11pm the night before Christmas, coupled with the fact that I was housesitting 45 minutes away from my homestead at the time, created a nasty cocktail for my lungs. Well, more my brain than my lungs really... I made the whole drive that day with all the windows of the car down (not a pleasant proposition in its own right in late December in Denver), but that didn't stop me from getting a schyster of a headache along the way. Also didn't stop me from drinking about 40 glasses of water once I got home in a desperate attempt to clean those fumes out of my system. Also didn't stop me from... eh, nevermind. There's room for a really gross joke here, but I'm not gonna make it.

I hope you've enjoyed your stay at Good Rubbish, please enjoy the rest of your day.

1 comment:

Jouda Mann said...

I'm occasionally surprised by you, young McHanslaw. This is twice that you have taken a piece of late 60s to early 70s era detritus and given us something worth looking at. The first attempt, while it is a fine piece, is not my particular style. But I am positively jealous of the person who owns this one, because now I want it.
Make no mistake, my wife would kill me. It interferes with the "Euro shithouse" style she currently has going. But if I could just somehow cash in on her life insurance, I would sure make something closely resembling this piece-of-crap-turned-pretty-damn-good table.
Another fine project, young McHanslaw.