Refinishing by John E. Stack

I learned many things from my Dad. My Dad like all other dads was not perfect, but did the best he could. One thing that he taught me that I really enjoy is working with my hands. I’ve found that I enjoy making sawdust and trying to visualize the end product of my handiwork. I appreciate the smell of the wood and the secrets that lie within. I work and rework until things are just right. What I originally visualized, I can now hold in my hands. This summer my daughter reminded me of something I said when she was a little girl. I don’t remember the circumstances or even what I might have said (this was around 30 years ago), but she remembers that I told her I would one day build her a dining room table. It just happens that she now wants a new table so she is calling me to task.

I am not really building her a table from scratch. That would be too easy. My wife found a solid wood table for a very low price and six wood chairs for another great price. When my daughter saw them they were almost exactly what she was looking for. Almost. These were a light pine and she had her heart set on dark wood. “No problem,” said her Mom. “Your Dad can refinish them for you.” And I have been. (For some reason my daughters are convinced that I can do almost anything.) The table is now complete and I’m working on the chairs. Refinishing involves a lot of sanding, polishing, buffing, polishing, etc. until you get the finish you desire. You remove the undesirable finish and work to remove or fix any blemishes. You work carefully to apply a new finish and buff out any imperfections. Eventually, you get what you are looking for. It may still have a few small defects, but it’s almost exactly what you were aiming for.

Our writings are a lot like finishing or refinishing furniture. If we get a new inspiration we write, clarify, rewrite, and edit. We may work days or months but we work to complete that vision we originally imagined. We work until our finished product is brand new, shiny and complete. If it is something that we previously wrote, we clip and pare, strip and sand until we see something we like. We apply that new finish and then remove the areas we are not pleased with. We edit, and clarify until we get what we are looking for. We may not be totally satisfied but for the time being it is close.

Yeah, the table is done but I’m still editing the chairs. The finish on the table is almost perfect with only one blemish that I can’t figure out how to fix. I also have a new children’s book that is almost complete, it just needs to be buffed and polished a little more. I’m hoping the finished product is a lot like that table – shiny with just a few blemishes.


Filed under fun, John Stack, musings, writing

2 responses to “Refinishing by John E. Stack

  1. Great analogy, and so true. And how wonderful that you are fulfilling a little girl’s 30 year old dream of building her a table.

  2. Great post and story. How seasonal the subject matter. Thanks for sharing.

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