“How poor are they that have not patience!
What wound did ever heal but by degrees?
Thou know’st we work by wit, and not by witchcraft;
And wit depends on dilatory time.” (Othello, 2.2.376-79)
Over this holiday weekend, I planned to do nothing but sit on my couch and read for my upcoming exams , and do as little physical labor as possible. Unfortunately, whilst sitting on my couch, I had an almost head-on view of the small hallway in which I’ve been meaning to install a built-in cupboard. In my line-of-sight were a box of cat litter and two bags of cat food that would be hidden behind the doors of said cupboard. Needless to say, this distracted me mightily from my Shakespeare.
So, I took some measurements, drew up a rough sketch (not my forte as you can see above) hopped in my car and drove to the home center where I picked up some 2×12 Southern yellow pine from the “Construction Lumber” section. I planned to paint the piece (and I’m cheap), so SYP was a perfect choice…except that I’d have to mill off a lot of waste to get to my desired 3/4″ thickness. But no problem , after all, we have the technology.
I got to the shop, plugged in my iPod (the first step in any project), and rough cut my pieces to length at the miter saw. Then I powered up the dust collection, adjusted the jointer fence and went to work on the milling. I moved to the planer, ran a couple pieces through…and was hit in the face with a HUGE cloud of dust.
It seems our dust collector hadn’t been emptied since Hector was a pup. Not only was the waste container full, the dust was backed up into the overhead pipes and jammed at the intake for the planer. So after a moment (or 10) of fishwife-worthy curses, I emptied out the container then spent a half hour getting the pipes unjammed, then swept up enough dust to fill another two containers. ARGHHH!!!!!
By this time, I was quite frustrated (yes, I should have checked the collector before I started; I was mostly angry with myself). I finished milling the lumber, stacked it on my bench, and decided the construction could wait. I’d had enough for one day, and I _really_ needed to get back to my books. So I left.
You’ll recall that I used Southern yellow pine. From the home center. From the Construction Lumber department. Rule #1 when buying cheap wood: Let it dry. Or if you’re impatient, mill it and IMMEDIATELY construct your project, clamping the ever-loving you-know-what out of it so it doesn’t warp/twist/cup/etc as it dries. OK. really, you should let it dry.
What you should never do is stack it, unstickered, on your bench.
Two days later, I’m hoping that, having stickered it, the top piece will flatten out as the moisture loss from the now-exposed side catches up. If it doesn’t (and I know it won’t, but a girl’s gotta have hope), it’s another trip to the home center…for a BIG box of screws. And stock for a beefier face frame to hide those screws. I’ll head for the hardwood. It’s usually dry.
– Megan Fitzpatrick