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Unwelcome woodworking

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Yeah, you read that correctly. There are times when woodworking becomes a chore, and not a delight. I have such a case before me right now.

For me, any excuse to be in the shop is fine. Time stops out there, whether what I’m working on is for business or pleasure. Even tasks I’m eager to finish are enjoyable till the end. But there are times when something happens that sends you to the shop and you don’t enjoy a moment of it.

We have an oak end table – a small cabinet, really – in our living room. A door on one side and some narrow drawers on the adjoining side. We bought it several years ago, and it was expensive and well made. Earlier this week, one of the cats threw up on it. Disgusting.

Cat throw up is the most corrosive substance in the universe. That’s no secret to cat owners, but I’ll bet those of you who aren’t cat people didn’t know that. Our cats have two rules: 1) If someone is around, only throw up on carpet or fabric so it soaks in quickly. 2) If no one’s around, throw up on something valuable, no matter what it’s made of, so it has time to work.

I found this little surprise after being out of the house for several hours. Cleaning it up I discovered that it had eaten not only through several coats of polyurethane, not only through the stain, but right down into the wood fibers as well. It’s like there was a puddle of sulfuric acid there. This is no simple refinishing job, with “simple” defined in this case as stripping the entire top, resanding, restaining and refinishing. That’d be easy.

No, this is low-grit, belt-sander work at best. At worst, I may need to remove the top (it’s held on by expansion clips from underneath, fortunately) and give it a run or two through the planer.

Which, coincidentally, is where I’d like to run those cats right about now.

Till next time,


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