I’m in a rut. I’m sitting here in my office on my incredible new writing chair, and as I stare out the window at the first snowflakes of the season, all I can think about is how little I’ve done for the blog in the last month and how little energy and enthusiasm I have for anything. I can’t blame time pressures. I can’t blame the weather. I can’t blame anything or anyone except myself. But this is modern America, and we’re masters of the blame-shift. So who can I blame for my current ennui? George Bush? Obama? Russia? The Kardashians? Twinkies? Bah! Screw it, I’ll keep the blame on myself. I’ll probe it and prod it until I understand it. Only then can I conquer this malaise that has gripped me like winter’s frozen fist. Since I don’t have a new project to share, I’m going to write about something a bit older.
There is a little project I did back before we started this blog. I had some leftover wood from my Beauty in the Beast project (also made before the blog), and I had a couple of thin pieces of spalted maple that I had been itching to put to good use. Spalted maple is fascinating.
Those black lines are the “spalted” areas, and they are caused by a fungus that attacks the living tree. Spalted wood can be breathtaking. I had a couple of small pieces, and I wanted to showcase them. I thought that a tray would be a good way to go. I started out making two trays – one with mahogany sides, and one with stained hard maple. I never finished the one with the maple sides, so I took some pics of the remnants to help explain the process. I started by cutting my spalted maple into a proper rectangle, as the original pieces did not have squared corners. For my first attempt, I sanded the piece up to 2000 grit and the stained it with Minwax Ebony stain. I rubbed the stain off immediately. This is a technique I’ve used to good effect on pine.
Though I liked the look, I feared it would be too dark to match well with the mahogany and the stained hard maple sides.
I flipped the piece over and sanded again. When sanded, I measured the spalted maple’s thickness.
To build the frame, I cut strips of maple and mahogany and mitered the corners to 45 degrees. Before gluing them into a frame, I set the blade of my table saw to a height of about 1/8 inch and cut a groove the length of all the pieces the same width as the thickness of the spalted maple.
I then glued three sides of the frame together.
When the glue was dry, I inserted the piece of spalted maple and secured it in place by gluing on the last piece of the frame.
Once I had it shining to my satisfaction, Handan gave me some metal ornates for the corners and some fancy little feet for the bottom. The only thing missing was handles. We searched Amazon. We searched Home Depot. We searched Lowe’s. We scoured Hobby Lobby. We looked at a thousand websites. We gave up.
A year later, we took up the search again, and this time Handan found some that worked. She found them at Amazon – the very first place we tried the year before. Doh!
My tea tray was complete. I’ve been wanting to share it with you, but I’d been putting off writing about it because I didn’t have many process pics. No more putting it off. Here she is.
You know what? I feel better already. I am glad to be getting this tea tray out to the world. She’s been sitting under a pile of crap in the dining room for too long. It’s her time to shine. And writing just these few words in this short post has cleared some of my cobwebs and lit a little fire under my lazy butt [or maybe it was the Screaming Grass? -Handan] . I’ll hoist myself up out of this rut and get back to work!
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