Monday, May 19, 2014

A Cookbook Stand, part II

I said before that I was making a cookbook stand.  When I walked away from the project at the start of my work hitch, this is where I left things:
 Ok, a couple things here: one, this thing needs a topcoat of some sort; two, isn't there supposed to be a center support across the back of the stand?; three, oh dear, if I continue as planned, this thing won't lie flat when folded; and four, why didn't I pre-finish the pieces before assembly??

The problem with it not lying flat was kinda solved by cutting the back support and kickstand from different pieces of scrap than originally planned, odd pieces that were more like 1/2" thick instead of 3/4" thick.  More about this later.  First, about that topcoat.

I don't know if you noticed this, but there are at least three wood species going on here.
 Poplar tends to have greenish veins running through it, pine is very yellow/orange-y, and this maple has a distinct pinkish tinge.  I say "at least three" different species because I still don't know what type wood that book rest is (maple? poplar? something else??).  So what kind of finish would suit a scrap wood project like this?  Paint, obviously (but I wanted stain! but I wanted it for free out of scrap! O, the drama!!).  And I happen to have in my stash three colors of Miss Mustard Seed milk paint.  You know, the kind I tried to use before?  The kind I swore I'd never use again?  Yeah.  That kind.

Since I kinda love wood grain, and I am especially fond of this maple, I taped it off and threw some paint on the rest.  This color is called Lucketts Green.  I only used about 1/4 cup of powder (for those unfamiliar, milk paint comes in powdered form; you mix it with water at a 1 to 1 for opaque coverage, less for more of a wash).
 You can see the clumps that hadn't dissolved in my little cup of paint.  They sanded off extremely easily for a nice, smooth coat.  You can also see the flecks of pigment that didn't dissolve (I'm not sure, but I think this might be because I was using a foam brush instead of a natural bristle brush like they recommend).  So if you look closely, I've got this cool, robin's egg effect on my stand.
I like the way it looks...otherwise, I could have gone back, done a more thorough job mixing the paint, and applied a second coat.

Then I set to staining my maple pieces (the header, center back support, and kickstand).  I tried a combination of Minwax's Gunstock and Jacobean at first, but it turned out super splotchy and looked...dirty.  Definitely not the look I wanted.  So I sanded it back to bare wood and tried again.  This time, to cut down on the splotchy-ness, I gave each piece a coat of straight mineral oil.  Then, while still wet, I spread on a coat of Minwax oil-based stain in Red Chestnut.  I only let it sit for a few seconds before wiping it off again, and I think it gave the maple's natural color just a little boost.  I really like the way it turned out.

Alright, now I've got it "finished."  Now I'm all set to Finish it.  (At this point I'm on day 3 of my 2-hour project.)  I decide it's time to attach the hinges and the kickstand.
 The big non-mortising hinges are ones I bought for a different project that ended up not I had them already.  They're on the big side for this project, but you won't really see them anyway.  The narrow hinge (on top) is one I bought to attach the kickstand.

So the kickstand was originally going to be a piece of regular old 3/4" pine...until I realized I wasn't in the mood to make the extra cuts necessary to make this kind of kickstand work with my lay-flat, fold-away design.  So I took the "easy" route of edge-gluing some thin scrap maple into a wide-enough piece to use as a kickstand instead.  I was feeling pretty good about this...until I tried to attach the hinge.
These small, narrow hinges come with screws that are 1/2" long.  Apparently, however, my kickstand is somewhat thinner than 1/2", and my screw ended up punching through the other side.  This is the kind of thing you might expect when you work with completely non-standard stock.

So what's a girl gonna do for want of a 3/8" screw?
Thank you, thank you, I'm here all week.

Yes, that's right, I glued it on.  With craft glue.  Although really, I'm not sure E-6000 should count as craft glue...I tend to think of it as a sort of glue-version of duct tape.  And what can duct tape not fix?

OK! Moving right along.  Now that the kickstand is hinged in place, I can see that my project still won't lie flat because the kickstand is too long.  So what about if I notch it out a bit to give the kickstand somewhere to go?
Erm, ok, that worked.  The splitting in the wood, that was on purpose.  To give it character.  I decide (again) that I like it.  But it's time for bed now, and really I probably need a break, come at it again fresh in the morning.

Alright, day 4.  This is it!  This is the day I'm going to Finish It!  Let's attach the center back support.
 But I've done this before, and a sick feeling of familiarity washes over me as I realize...
...this isn't going to work.  The angle of the Kreg jig is such that certain joints involving 1/2" stock will lead to the screw exiting your second piece of wood, inciting much groaning and gnashing of teeth.  I know this.  I encountered this exact same problem on Kathy's cabinets (I don't think I talked about it there, but it was at the joining of the 1/2" sides of the cab to the face frame. Screws poking through the face frame! I almost cried.).  Maybe I could glue it, too?
But, alas!, it didn't hold.  I'm open to suggestions.

Luckily for everyone's sanity, the center back support isn't a real necessity.  This is my shortest cookbook, an old copy of Joy of Cooking.
See? I think this project succeeds just fine without it, don't you?
 The chain and green rocks are from the bargain bin at Jo-Ann's (you know, up near the check-out - a buck for each pendant and the whole chain).  I attached them using a couple of little screw-in eyes sunk into 1/2" diameter, 1/2" deep holes so that they all but disappear on top.
 And in the end, it does indeed lie flat!
I will absolutely admit to giving in to impatience on this project.  Truly, I ought never to go into any project thinking, "this will only take ____ hours/minutes/days, I'll be done in no time!"  It leads to all kinds of screwy short-cutting.  My take-away?  Enjoy the process.  Don't rush. Commit to the thing in front of you, experience it fully, and don't be in a hurry to have it over and'll get more out of it, and it'll be the better because you were fully present.  Besides, once it is over and done, all I find myself thinking about it, "what shall I do next??"


  1. I love this! The cookbook stand and your thoughts on it.
    I had some similar thoughts Saturday morning when my "it'll take about an hour" to defrost the freezer became over 2 1/2 hours...and that quick only because I started using the rubber mallet to pound the table knife I was using under some of the glaciers to move them along.
    In my moments of fully present, I was able to draw wonderful parallels to the frozen turkey-ish-ness of my heart, and that sometimes God has to use a rubber mallet to get my attention. I really don't want to grow old with an increasingly hard and bitter heart.
    Love you!

    1. Thank you, Mom! Haha, poor frozen turkey! Yes, I think the way I handle impatience is such a window into the real state of my heart.

  2. And the green rock things on the chains! Brilliant!

  3. It's beautiful! I love that you like to make things--and you have such a fun style. :)


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