My stubby finger traced the groove’s curves, pushing aside the fresh sawdust and smelling its piney scent.
“That’s a potato, Marcy,” my dad said. “Do you know where they have a lot of potatoes?”
I had no idea.
“In Ireland,” he said. “That’s where your ancestors came from.” While I traced the oval blobs of the potatoes, I heard the motor of his router make the strands of spaghetti for Italy.
I was maybe 5 or 6 and didn’t know Irish potatoes from Italian spaghetti, but I did know that I liked to watch my dad work on his machine and learn what all the shapes represented.
My dad created two of each type of six panels, parts of swinging doors in the house of my childhood.
The panels had sat in a dusty heap in my basement for the last several years, and I finally made a frame for them. Now, as I pause in my writing, stuck on a phrase, my eyes drift along the bagpipe-shaped blob in the frame over my desk.
Scotland, I know.
The panels represent Ireland, Scotland, France, England, Italy, and Germany.
Measure twice, cut once: My husband Randy designed the frame and supervised its construction with an exacting patience. He cares about precision in woodworking the way I care about avoiding typos.
- Lay out the panels and measure the lengths of wood.
- Cut the wood to size on the chop saw. (Loud! Scary!)
- Hammer the four pieces into a frame. Continually get new nails to replace the bent nails.
- Hammer cross beams in place for support. Continually get new nails to replace the bent nails.
- Stain the frame.
- Apply polyurethane.
- Nail the panels into place. Marvel that I showed no improvement in being able to hammer a nail without bending it.
#59 (101 things in 1001 days): Make a wooden frame for the old homemade door panels my dad had made.