Underneath It All

You are looking, today, at the underside of the same table that you saw last week. When I first delivered it – just before Thanksgiving – we were able to get it together with a lot of effort. I got a call from the customer during my visit with my daughter over Thanksgiving. They couldn’t get it together without more strength than they possessed. As soon as I got into the area, I brought the table back to my shop for more work. I added to the finish, put strongbacks in (those are the pieces you see along the edge of the table and are meant to take the bend out), and enlarged the holes so that the pieces clicked together more easily. What you see is me reassembling the table for its final run-through for the customer.

Now, why am I telling you all this? For one thing, you can see my difficulty with a big piece like this when I work by myself in a shop. I’m just not strong enough to check all this out. I needed to see it together once – that was the first visit. Having seen it, I mulled things over and came up with a solution that seems to be working. Another issue, and probably the most important to me, is that I want to immerse every piece I create in contribution. I want my work to be a contribution to the life of my customer, and I want the customer’s exchange to be a contribution to my life as a craftsman and a business person. Giving away work does not strengthen my family. Taking money for unsatisfying work doesn’t strengthen my business and doesn’t help me in church.

That’s what’s underneath it all. We are at the underneath all time of year. We want to make children happy by giving to them, but underneath that we are celebrating giving and our ability to do it. At this time of year, we want to say that no matter what the challenges (the news, the results of that last test, the weather) we are able to give. Our selves can grow in this way underneath it all.