April 2, 2012

what the sea helped me build

This story begins with a trip to the beach, months prior, along with a few exploration-loving friends who are just as inclined towards painfully dragging home heavy, dirty objects as I am. Well, this lovely trip resulted in the acquisition of two very awesome, half buried, semi-barnacle-ridden, red and white painted tide markers.








































The second part to this tale is that one lovely man contacted me about building him a desk, so over he came to my ever-shrinking studio to see some pieces in person. He instantly noticed these tide markers, up against a wall, over in the corner, and asked can you incorporate one of those into the desk? Well, of course I can!

He preferred the more worn, faded tide marker, the magnificently silvered one with very little paint that is simply aged to perfection. An exquisite specimen, it is! But before I could begin, I had to plane it down to one inch thick from the back, as they are originally two inches thick and would not match the thickness of the top of the desk. I don't have a planer, so I took it to a local wood shop and asked if they could take it down an inch on the backside. I spent an hour de-nailing the damn thing, so I was really excited to get on my way and start building.



















Well, I was admiring this wood shop's spaciousness {the opposite of what I have}, their light filled industrial windows, drooling over their wonderfully kept professional tools, not really paying attention. And -- of course -- BOOM. In three seconds the tide marker, in all it's old glory, was dead. Gone. Poof. Yep, the man had attempted to help me out, but instead he had planed down the FRONT. The front! The side with all the beautiful paint on it...

I was crushed. Devastated. Lovers of old wood, you may want to avert your eyes!



















I know. Horrendous. So terrible, that I must admit, there may have been a wee bit of crying involved {hey, what can I say? At least I made it out of the woodshop filled with macho guys before bursting into tears}. I was dreading the email I would have to send that said Dear Sir, I have accidentally murdered your tide marker and you will never see it again. Yeah. Not fun. But lesson learned. Very, very learned, and in three parts:

One, be clearer.
Two, pay more attention.
Three, freaking do everything myself!








































Ta-dah! Hello beautiful, precious, incredible Bosch planer that's so smooth and wonderful it's like shaving off butter. Butter I say! So ultimately, I lost an irreplaceable piece of wood in order to initially save myself a hundred and fifteen smackaroos. I should have just bought the damn planer in the first place.







































So, onward! To less horrific parts of the story, like when little Shop Cat here helps me build the frame.



























































And here she is. The Tide Marker desk. A collaboration of ideas that made me put two things together I may not have thought of on my own. Such a lovely thing, learning and adapting, overcoming disasters, and realizing that even with that sadly destroyed piece of wood, it will still make a damn nice shelf.

34 comments:

  1. that's to bad about the original tide marker, i hope you employed a sufficient enough scowl for the operator to feel silly.

    tyler

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  2. Love it.. really love it~

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  3. Ok, I posted before I read what happend! I think I would of CRIED right then and there!! I bet the look on your face said it all when they showed you the planed wood. But you made a memory! Still love it! Really love it!!

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  4. Another lesson learned the hard way! The really, really hard way. Yes. Do everything yourself. Thank god you had two of the tide markers!

    RIP you beautiful piece of wood! I know your memory will live on in your more lucky sister...

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  5. why? why would the shop think you brought in that piece of wood to plane off the painted side!? (how many times did you scream that question in your head?) i would have cried too. right there. my heart tightened just reading this. how incredibly fortunate that you had 2 of these.

    really nice to know there's a tool that allows you to do the work yourself.

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  6. So cool! Your work is so inspiring - I love to see you create out of discarded objects. Have you ever considered making planters for outdoor use? I could use a big ol wooden planter... :)

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  7. wowwwwwwww!!!! i am in love with that desk!!!!... and i am just building a lamp with this king of plank i found on the beach!!!! fantastic sea work....

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  8. why did you kill him?....omg

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  9. hi i've been an admirer of your work & your blog for a bit - i'm a painter now but i used to be a product designer in the past (as well as a furniture designer at one point). you whipping up amazing things in your small space has inspired me to get some tools and start making some sculptures and maybe some other things as well in my tiny brooklyn apartment.
    the restaurant you made

    btw i love the way you used the dowels for jointing the legs/aprons of the table - looks beautiful and it's simpler than mortise -n-tenon'ing! :)

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  10. Hi Ariele!! Am loving your blog, have read the whole thing. I can SO relate!!!!!!!!!!! I knew that idiot was going to machine the wrong side off as soon as you began the story!! Arghhhhhhhhhhhh!!!! Next time, take some chalk with you and make a BIG mark on the edge you want machined, and then watch him like a hawk. Measure twice, cut once..
    I too am a girl who works with reclaimed wood and idiot men!!!

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    1. HAH! Yes indeed, this definitely emphasizes the saying measure once, cut twice. Easy to follow, harder to enforce upon others! ARGGH is right. I'm happy to meet a fellow female woodworker who shares my experiences, frustrating though some may be!

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  11. Oh my fucking god. Seriously. Who does that???? Beautiful beautiful desk nonetheless, but SERIOUSLY?!?!?

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  12. you're remarkable! i am soo in love with your work and determination. xoxo

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  13. Absolutely stunning! The legs have a cool stripy look--what are they salvaged from?

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    1. Thank you! Yes I love this wood, it's simply old fir joists from the inside of old walls. And the lath from the top is actually what lays across the joists, so all my furniture is made from the insides of a wall!

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  14. My heart broke for the piece that was destroyed. The finished product made my heart swoon!~

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  15. So much history. So many stories to tell. Your projects inject new life into materials, that, even through transformation get keep their past and integrity.

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  16. This is wonderful, Ariele! I love the combination of the pattern from the tables with the new element of the tide marker. Happy serendipity!

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  17. Oh my word, so sorry! Such a beautiful recovery though That table is awesome! (but what of yours aren't!).

    Change of subject - My boyfriend showed be this tonight, and I thought you could appreciate: http://www.thewoodwhisperer.com/shop-tours/dr-hackers-unique-workshop/ Quite a lot of tools crammed into a very small space!

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  18. I may have just swore and shoved my laptop in my other half's face so he could share my outrage. Thank god for a second marker! The end product is beautiful

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  19. The desk is wonderful

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  20. Oh gah, my stomach clenched at the thought of that marker being eaten by the planer. Ughhhh. You made the best of it though, and then some. The table is gorgeous. And I have the same planer, totally worth the money to avoid this situation again.

    Love your work.

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  21. I'm so sorry to read this! As I was reading I was hoping that it wouldn't end badly but it did! It's ok though, you'll have plenty more amazing finds soon and now you have an electric plane so you can create even more awesome eye candy for us! yay!

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  22. oh my Ariele, now I know why you were so upset about that table! but it looks great nonetheless!

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  23. I love it.

    Ariele, you have inspired me on my quest on woodcrafting.

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  24. Grieving myself over that piece of wood. that guy must have had the intelligence of a brick to do that. I am with whomever asked who fucking does that. Heartbreaking...but the desk is beautiful

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  25. This place just gets better and better with every project. Absolutely amazing work here.

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  26. hi ariele
    am so intrigued by what you do. you are simply amazing, am at awe really. Such a brilliant work. Very inspiring!!
    thanx for sharing :)

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  27. that nearly made me cry!!! but you've done a beautiful job with the other marker!

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  28. Live and learn, right?

    I've been following your blog for a couple of months. Fantastic work you're doing. And, of course, now whenever I see the diagonal light/dark striped pattern I think of you - I saw this today:

    http://www.iainclaridge.co.uk/blog/14642

    8^)

    Had to share.
    r!

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  29. OH NO. i hate those moments, those times when a completely unintentional accident that begins from the best of intentions culminates into the worst possible thing happening - i'm so sorry! i don't know what i would have done there either, but it sounds like you handled the situation with grace the best you could given what had already happened.

    i however, did not handle my situation as well when my well-intentioned accident led to me deleting 2GB/5 days of photos on my last vacation to Turkey...something I likely would not be able to replicate anytime in the near future. i'm still distraught about it! :(

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  30. This is amazing! All of your work is so special! Thank you for sharing it all!

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  31. You are so rad! I force my fiance (a carpenter) to do similar projects but you have inspired me to pick up some power tools and get to work!

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Thank you dearly for your comments! They always make my day.