This was my submission for the PW Magazine’s End Grain column submission contest. It didn’t make the cut, but at least it can have a chance to live here. I will post a couple of pictures tomorrow of the completed projects mentioned below.
I’ll See Your End Table, And Raise You A Fountain
Friendly competition is at the heart of any successful relationship. At least, I have been led to believe that every time my wife does something better than me. I have to take this opportunity to immortalize a certain event. Not really to gloat, but mostly to be able to show the kids and say, “See, Daddy did win once!”
My wife and I met while attending college at Kansas State University’s Interior Architecture and Product Design program, and we married shortly after graduation. We were fortunate enough to have a few semesters of woodworking shop time.
One semester was wrapping up with a small design competition. I was diligent as ever. Unfortunately, I am a procrastinator. At least I plan to become one some day. I spent my time working on other projects, experimenting, & helping others with their projects. The deadline was fast approaching.
Meanwhile, my better half is actually working… and diligently at that. She has undertaken the engineering challenge of face turning a round tabletop with a drawer in the center. Not such an easy task since the drawer face has to be turned at the same time as the tabletop, yet still be removable.
Two days to go and what do I have? All of the experimentation on joinery methods and finishing techniques has not yet yielded anything substantial. Time to brainstorm.
I have long been a fan of incorporating technology into unexpected places. Along came the idea. What better thing to make in a woodshop than something that uses water? Those two go together, right?
I start by making a box from a nice cedar plank. A few finger joints and a rabbet for the bottom and I have nice little box.
Now for a water feature. How better to use a little submersible pump I have laying around than to make a waterfall. Add a wedge of cedar mounted above the box, routed and channeled to guide the water flow.
Now for the special effects. I happen to have a small ultrasonic mister, and mount it under the wedge. It creates a blanket of foggy mist that is cool to the touch, baklit by a red LED.
Now for waterproofing. Apparently the only finish available at midnight before a deadline is Spar Urethane in a can from the local Big Box retailer. I spray on the finish in an appropriate finishing area (the front steps of our multi tenant apartment house). Amazingly, you can’t see runs if the whole thing is thuroughly doused.
The moment of truth arrives with me carrying in my bundle of cedar, tubing, and wires. My wife accompanies me with her cleverly turned and functional side table. We turn them in and wait.
Feeling lucky just to have turned something in, I am shocked when the results revealed that I took second place for my “Innovative Design”.
Needless to say, I had to lay low for a few days afterward, as my wife was not too thrilled that her thoughtfully engineered project was edged out by flashy technology from a procrastinator.