Zen and the Art of Wood Refinishing

In the last four weekends, Sam and I have purchased three sanders: two Skil Octos and a Black & Decker belt sander. Not a big deal for me. I grew up with power tools. Sam is another story. That said, we’ve taken on restoring the knotty pine kitchen in our home.

Unfortunately, in our haste to get going, we didn’t take ‘before’ photos. The photo to the left is the best we’ve got. That’s white primer over knotty pine, and an outmoded light fixture.

When Joe and I bought the house, it was a shambles, inside and out, as was our relationship that ended before we even got out of boxes. I can’t speak to the exact psychological state that prompted us in those early weeks to whitewash the entire 1926-authentic, unless it was obvious: the need for something to seem clean and/or without blemish.

Even though Sam mentioned it gently, he didn’t have to. The metaphor was as present as the buckets of sawdust all around. That was then, and this is now. Well, this is the first step. Stay tuned.

Sam’s great at paring things, and people, down to what lies beneath, and now he knows how to do it with a sander.


3 Responses to “Zen and the Art of Wood Refinishing”

  1. Wednesday, June 11, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    Learning how to use a hand sander has been one of the best memories of the spring so far. I’m eagerly awaiting sanding down the bathroom cabinets to their original glory.

  2. Wednesday, June 11, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    There is nothing quite like immediate gratification…unless it is that, coupled with the extreme satisfaction of seeing the finished product of a great job you have done yourself! And that sounds an awful lot like life in-general. I am proud of you both, as always. It also makes me proud on behalf of Grandaddy Ben…the guy who taught you and me so much.

  3. 3 Jonathan
    Wednesday, June 11, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    I couldn’t agree with you more on that whole Zen aspect of woodworking. For me, it almost becomes meditative. I stop thinking about what the finished wood is going to look like, and just enjoy the process of working the wood. The journey is the destination.

    The wood looks great. Wood is such a beautiful thing, and painting over it just takes away that beauty. To see the grain of the wood, and know that you are surrounded by something amazingly, naturally beautiful–that’s awesome.

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