Clifford D. Simak once opined “Time is the simplest thing”.
In the context of human experience, he may be correct. All things that fall within our understanding are subject to the passage of time. It haunts us in its relentless and unstoppable nature. We wax poetic about this when we coin phrases such as the “mercies of time”, “whims of time” or even the “ravages of time”.
Cher evokes the tragedy of this simplicity when she encapsulates the sum of human regret with the line: “If I could turn back time…” Time ages us; withers us; rots us; and inevitably sees the end of all things.
Time is also the fourth dimension, the necessary back-half of the concept of space-time. Not just where I am, but also when I am. And in large regards, time is a construct of humanity to help explain why the sun was up and now it is not; why I once was young and now I am not-so-much.
Time has always been hugely fascinating to me. I often perform an exercise wherein I will pinpoint a moment and think to myself “Next Tuesday, I will look back on this moment and remember this thought, as it will have evaporated into the realms of nevermore; and at that moment on Tuesday, by remembering this thought, I can briefly taste the essence of the past.”
Whenever I am in an old building, I find myself running my hands along the walls (especially if they are brick) and hand rails, lost in wonders of all the hands that have done the same in years that have transpired during the building’s existence.
To some degree, I have to consider that this may be the impetus for my infatuation with antiquities. The contemporary has never held much admiration from me, with rare exceptions of technology. There is mystery and soul in things that are old, that I find lacking in the modern and fresh. As such, I have sought to surround myself with relics with almost as much zeal as I have sought to surround myself with books.
Over the years, I have had opportunity to possess many bits and baubles of past eras. At one point, I owned a mid-century end table that was sacrificed to the gods of necessity when fleeing some domicile for the comfort of another. So, I must admit that nostalgia played no small part in my decision to seek out this Free Stuff listing.
From the picture in the advertisement, this end table looked identical to the one that I remember having and it was near work, so it was a breeze to pick up during my lunch break. Having received a reply with directions to come and fetch the table from behind a dumpster in the parking lot of an apartment complex, I set off to collect my rewards from the gods and goddesses of Free Stuff.
Upon collection, I was disappointed to find that this was definitely not the same end table. It was as dirty and abused as I expected of any rescue, but it was far less table than I expected. By that, I mean to say the table was made of a very low-density particle board, topped with laminate. The legs and the risers between the upper and lower tier were painted brown; and the latter were perplexingly adorned with bands of metallic tape.
Being not-at-all the project I was expecting, I initially thought about just reinvesting it in the grand cycle of free offerings. Ultimately, I decided to roll up my sleeves and dig in.
Since there is nothing that can be done to repair or refinish the laminate top, I covered the table tops with red oak veneer. I sanded down the edges, which turned out to be real wood, as well as the legs and risers, which also turned out to be real wood.
Sanding the paint from all 10 of these round objects started getting tedious, so to facilitate the process, I attached them to my screw gun/drill by inserting the bolt into the chuck and gently tightening until it held firm. Holding the drill in one hand and some sandpaper in the other, I could lay the piece to be stripped lightly on the sandpaper and give the drill a little juice. If you try this, be careful not to go too fast or the heat from friction will melt the sandpaper, making it useless. Also, it might burn your hand…
Once this was done, I ended up with something that looked more like a real piece of furniture and less like someone had hit a piece of Barbie Dream House furniture with Wayne Szalinski’s growth machine.
I think I should also take a moment now to mention that this, all of the previous posts, and several of the forthcoming posts, feature projects that I completed up to 15 months ago. It was never my intention to share these projects online, which is why the photographs are sparse and not very informative. As I move forward with new projects, my goal is to better capture the process.
Like many of these old projects, this table did not survive the move to our new place. Hit the gallery below for some of the staged pictures from our divestment.