I had the great pleasure of enduring a guilt-laden lecture this weekend.
Apparently in my attempt to live my life and do what was right for me, I crossed someone else’s line of acceptable behavior and had to spend hours hearing about it.
You see, I made some drawer sides from stock that was something other than CRAP. It wasn’t luthier quality 5A Birdseye maple, but my drawer sides weren’t knotty pine, either. This simple action on my part incensed a friend of mine, and John spent the better part of Saturday constantly telling me that I was a wasteful, short sighted, selfish, arrogant, immature, and foolish spendthrift. Then, just for good measure he added that I was at least partially responsible for most of the actions carried out by the Khmer Rouge, the genocide in Rwanda, and the introduction of New Coke.
The ironic thing is that I actually thought I was being frugal. The only ½ inch stock I had was the pretty stuff. And it was just the right size for the drawer sides I needed. This wood was a perfect fit for what I needed. So rather than run a lesser wood through the planer and turn 30% of it to chips….I just made my drawer sides from the good stuff that might have otherwise sat in the cutoff bin for years. I thought I was justified in my decision.
Because my friend has 40 years of experience building drawers, he has an unwavering opinion of what drawer sides can be. In his world they have to be the worst wood from the cutoff bin. Drawer sides are made from wood you “settle for.” I guess I wanted more. See, I thought since it was my life I could have drawers that were beautiful on the sides, too. I bought the wood. It was my sweat and tears that went into the construction. (Wait….you guys know me…let me rephrase that…). It was my BLOOD, sweat, and tears that went into the construction. I’m an adult. I have a right to make my drawer sides from anything I want. My friend just doesn’t see it that way.
Perhaps I should start a new policy of including one ebony sided drawer in each piece of furniture I make. If I had great talent (and infinite time) I would add marquetry on top of those ebony drawer sides (not on the drawer front…on the sides). And then, I would NEVER point out to anyone that one drawer in the cabinet had hidden beauty. Like a woman who wears her prettiest Vicki Stuff under the faded jeans she dons to shovel out the horse stalls in the barn, my cabinets would always have one little beautiful hidden feature that I put in there just for me. And even though most of my contemporaries are making drawer sides from whatever stock they decide to “settle for”… on at least one drawer per project, I will make it in a way that shows my very personal decision to rise above the level of mediocrity and reach for that brass ring just one more time.