Most people who have a cottage which isn’t a mini-mansion spend a lot of their cottage life maintaining and improving it. This can be a little stressful to those like me who are more or less entirely without home-improvement skills.
I dunno why I never got the bug. I do like the idea of being a builder, but I can’t make a nail or a saw proceed in a straight line very well, and I find that things that are supposed to fit together don’t, and once together can’t be made to come apart as expected, and the whole thing involves a lot of pain and swearing and small precious pieces that fall on the floor and roll under immovably-heavy objects.
So, this picture requires some explanation.
At the cottage, we have this lovely deck built around huge trees overlooking Howe Sound, and we like to eat out there, but we don’t have much of a table; a flimsy round plastic thing that tends to spill one’s beer when jostled by a bouncy child.
We also have a big stack of lumber, trees that were cut down a few years back to get us a little more sun and have been milled into a variety of dimensions notably including 2x6", first-rate hundred-year-old cedar. So I got the idea of a sturdy companionable home-made picnic table and have embarked on building one.
There are lots of patterns on the Web and I picked this one because it doesn’t have built-in benches; rather than making the ones in the pattern, I plan to get nice comfy outdoor chairs that you can lean back in while you sip your wine and admire the scenery.
Now clearly this pattern is beyond my powers, involving as it does many subtly-curved pieces of wood. I may not be able to build, but I can model, so I re-did the pattern to eliminate the curvature and replace almost all the 2x4" bits with 2x6" because that’s what I have.
Lauren, who actually has a gift for carpentry, has instructed me in the use of a circular saw and a belt sander. The saw is tricky and I’m still mastering the skill of mounting the pieces so they don’t sag and twist and tear as the cut nears completion. The belt sander though, it’s a dream; you can make rough-milled timbers smooth as a baby’s bottom reasonably quickly and without having studied the technique for years.
And I have to say, time spent out on the deck measuring and cutting and sanding and so on is pretty relaxing. So far, no small parts have been lost.