I did not want to build the “I Can Do That” project for the February
2011 issue. As my co-workers can attest, I grumbled about it for a good
three weeks before I got started…and then, only at the last
possible minute. So that meant I was in our shop on a weekend, working
on a project I didn’t want to make. It was like walking the plank with
a sword to my back; that sword was a scheduled photo shoot.
was so odious about building this Pirate Chest? Perhaps I can
chalk it up to a neighbor child’s ever-expanding (and always scattered
about) collection of all things pirate and the pain of stepping on
those sharp, tiny cutlasses and pointy hats whenever I’m babysitting.
Or maybe I’m just tired of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” juggernaut –
inescapable as there’s a fourth one coming out in 2011 (not to mention
that Johnny Depp looks far more handsome as John Wilmont in “The
Libertine” than as Jack Sparrow).
And because of my antipathy and resulting frantic last-minute build, the project was cursed.
started with a nasty splinter when I picked up the stock to crosscut
pieces for the front and back (I guess you could say I slivered me timbers?). Then, I knocked my block plane off the bench and chipped the
blade (I escaped immediate grinding as I have a second blade, but it
needed sharpening before I could put it to work). As I was clamping one
of the top slats in the Workmate to bevel the slat edge, I managed to get a
fingernail stuck between the stock and the Workmate’s split clamping top – which resulted in a
badly torn and bloody nail (so there’s blood on this project, which I
suppose is appropriate). And in my rush to finish, I wasn’t paying
attention and sunk one of the masonry nails in the wrong direction,
which split out an end. So I had to pull out the nail and wait for the
glue to dry in the repaired split. Finally, when painting the chest
(something at which I’m usually quite proficient and neat), I managed
to get brown paint all over my shirt sleeves.
In short, because of my
ill-tempered haste, the Pirate Chest took me a couple hours longer to
complete than necessary, and I had no choice but to stay late and
miss the beginning of “Sherlock” on Masterpiece Theater (which means I lost 20 minutes of watching Benedict Cumberbatch, who I find far more
attractive than Johnny Depp).
Schwarz (the evil cap’n who forced me to build this) was right – it’s a
cute project. I think I’ll direct my young neighbor’s parents to this
free article – they need to build one in which to store all those
pirate toys. But I refuse to help – the curse might be contagious.
• Now available in our bookstore: “The Pirate Primer.” No, it won’t teach you how to build this pirate chest (the plans, like all our I Can Do That projects and the I Can Do That manual) are available free on our web site. But, this new book from our parent company does have threats, curses, oaths and insults in pirate speak (I’m sure I uttered at least a few of them during the build), and all kinds of fun pirate stuff.