The idea of a personal legacy is a fascinating notion. As a consolation for our mortality, legacy provides a mollifying effect; lessening the fear of that inevitable moment when we cease to have direct impact on the world we seek so desperately to shape. It exists as an extension of the ego, driving our actions to leave behind us some manner of indelible mark that cannot be erased as readily as our physical form falls to dust.
Legacy means different things to different people. Artists see their legacy in the art they create and the thought it provokes. Politicians create their legacy out of the countries they build and the laws they pass. The legacy of teachers lives on in the children they mold and the adults those children become.
Some people define their legacy by writing their name in 20 foot tall gold letters. Others by simply being a kind person who inspires the same in those they meet.
It is one such manifestation of my personal legacy–my youngest son–that prompted this post, when it was suggested that I write about my latest project as it happens, rather than waiting until it is complete.
And so, this is Part 1 of what I am calling the Over/Under.
The Over/Under is another free rescue find on Craigslist. Advertised as a storage cabinet that was used on a covered porch, the picture bespoke a mid century vintage that was intriguing. That it was reasonably nearby sealed the deal.
As well one should be, I am always a little wary of anything free that looks too good to be true. But, knowing how much hairpin legs cost, I assumed the risk of picking up the entire unit even if only the legs could be salvaged. What we found when we picked it up was something far less than what I imagined. The legs were every bit as wonderful as I had hoped, but the rest of the unit definitely did not qualify for anything better than “free”.
I had hoped that there would be an easy refinish project to be found under that paint, so I was disappointed to discover that both the top and bottom were little more than particle board boxes with sliding doors.
After getting the Over/Under home, and inspecting everything, I found that age and weather had warped the doors beyond redemption and that excessive weight had caused the bottom box to begin collapsing around the legs. I decided to get rid of everything except the top box and the legs.
(My youngest can retell the tale of me kicking the box apart in the alley behind the apartment building.)
Now, that is not to say that the box retained does not have its own host of problems. The top of the box was covered with a piece of formica and the edges were reinforced with angled aluminum. There was some water damage to one side that had caused the particle board to swell in places. The sides of the box were not flush. Finally, in the top and bottom pieces, there were tracks cut to accommodate the sliding doors. The bottom front edge along the track was starting to split.
Day 1 involved prying off the aluminum edge, scraping the formica off the top, reinforcing the split lip with some glue, filling the tracks and building up the edges that weren’t flush with wood putty and using a file to flatten out the water damaged areas.
Doesn’t look like much, but it’s coming together. At least in my mind…
Tune in next time, for the thrilling continuation of The Over/Under!