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Old July 14th 03, 10:05 PM
Bubba
 
Posts: n/a
Default My $11 coffee table

A previous post reminded me on one of my earliest furniture projects. A
coffee table.



I was fresh out of grad school, gainfully employed with an honest-to-gawd
salary and about to furnish my first apartment. Décor was very much of the
brick-and-board school . It occurred to me that I could make a very simple
(but striking) coffee table out of two untreated railroad ties. If memory
serves, the dimension of a tie was 6-in x 9-in x 9 feet. All it would take
would be 6 cuts: 4 to lop of a set of 6-inch pieces for the feet, 2 for the
crossbars and the remainder would be the body of the table. Simple. No
fasteners. Gravity would hold it together.



I found a supplier of ties in the yellow pages. They quoted me a price of
$5.50 per tie (this was 1970). Hey - - I could afford $11. for a coffee
table.



I rented a pick-up ($20 per day) and during my lunch hour headed for the
railroad tie boutique to collect (what was now ) a $31 coffee table. At the
tie place, I discovered a couple of things: 1) I couldn't load my own ties.
It had to be done by a union worker; 2) the union didn't work during the
lunch hour, and 3) all the really good ties were contracted to the Union
Pacific. The ones they were selling me were slightly warped. I headed
back, turned in the pickup at the rental place and learned that there was
also a 25 cent per mile charge. Now my table had become a $36 dollar item.



Several days later, I slipped out of the office early, phoned ahead to be
sure the Union was ready for me, rented a truck and picked up my $60 dollar
coffee table.



Over the weekend, I lugged the ties to the home of a friend who owned a
table saw. It took a few hours, but eventually it sunk in that the average
table saw, owned by the average compliant friend is NOT engineered to make
precision cuts (or any other sort of cuts for that matter) on a 100 lb tie
horsed onto the table and hand fed into the blade. The new blade cost $12.
It took most of Sunday, but eventually all six cuts were performed with a
hand bucksaw purchased ($8) at the local hardware store. The cuts wandered
all over the place and the ends weren't square, but what was I supposed to
expect for an $80 coffee table.



Since the ties were slightly warped, all components now had small, but
noticeable skew. No problem. I rented a belt sander ($9/dy). The guy at
the rental place asked me now many belts I wanted. I didn't have any idea.
He recommended that I take a box and return the un-used ones. It's a
heckuva lot faster to sand with a new belt, so I changed belts frequently.
Ten belts. Four bucks a belt. At $129 it still looked like a pile of
unpainted railroad ties. Another friend clued me in to Watco Danish Rubbing
Oil. I bought a can. It cost slightly more (per unit volume) than the
brand of bourbon that I was drinking (in my formative years). Ten dollars
for a can of the stuff. I spread out a drop cloth, laid out one of the
longer pieces and drizzled a little of the oil onto the surface of the tie.
SLURP (Ross Perot's enormous sucking sound). The stuff disappeared into the
wood like **** into a snow bank. It took two more cans to make any
noticeable difference in the appearance. So, at $159, the end was in sight.
Now all it needed was a glass top (1/4 inch, smoked glass, rounded edges)
$27.



My male friends all agreed that my $186 coffee table was an item of superb
design and construction. My female acquaintances seemed to feel otherwise.
"Butt-ugly" is the term that they seemed to favor. Women, as a group,
don't appreciate fine craftsmanship.











  #2   Report Post  
Old July 14th 03, 10:42 PM
D K Woods
 
Posts: n/a
Default My $11 coffee table

Boy that sounds familiar....I don't know anybody *that's* happened to....

Submit that to a magazine, man!!

david
--
I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have
of it.
-- Thomas Jefferson
  #3   Report Post  
Old July 15th 03, 02:54 AM
Wilson Lamb
 
Posts: n/a
Default My $11 coffee table

Would everyone please list the things women appreciate.
Oops, I mean the things men are capable of doing in their shops.
WL
"Bubba" wrote in message
. ..
A previous post reminded me on one of my earliest furniture projects. A
coffee table.



I was fresh out of grad school, gainfully employed with an honest-to-gawd
salary and about to furnish my first apartment. Décor was very much of

the
brick-and-board school . It occurred to me that I could make a very

simple
(but striking) coffee table out of two untreated railroad ties. If memory
serves, the dimension of a tie was 6-in x 9-in x 9 feet. All it would

take
would be 6 cuts: 4 to lop of a set of 6-inch pieces for the feet, 2 for

the
crossbars and the remainder would be the body of the table. Simple. No
fasteners. Gravity would hold it together.



I found a supplier of ties in the yellow pages. They quoted me a price of
$5.50 per tie (this was 1970). Hey - - I could afford $11. for a coffee
table.



I rented a pick-up ($20 per day) and during my lunch hour headed for the
railroad tie boutique to collect (what was now ) a $31 coffee table. At

the
tie place, I discovered a couple of things: 1) I couldn't load my own

ties.
It had to be done by a union worker; 2) the union didn't work during the
lunch hour, and 3) all the really good ties were contracted to the Union
Pacific. The ones they were selling me were slightly warped. I headed
back, turned in the pickup at the rental place and learned that there was
also a 25 cent per mile charge. Now my table had become a $36 dollar

item.



Several days later, I slipped out of the office early, phoned ahead to be
sure the Union was ready for me, rented a truck and picked up my $60

dollar
coffee table.



Over the weekend, I lugged the ties to the home of a friend who owned a
table saw. It took a few hours, but eventually it sunk in that the

average
table saw, owned by the average compliant friend is NOT engineered to make
precision cuts (or any other sort of cuts for that matter) on a 100 lb tie
horsed onto the table and hand fed into the blade. The new blade cost

$12.
It took most of Sunday, but eventually all six cuts were performed with a
hand bucksaw purchased ($8) at the local hardware store. The cuts

wandered
all over the place and the ends weren't square, but what was I supposed to
expect for an $80 coffee table.



Since the ties were slightly warped, all components now had small, but
noticeable skew. No problem. I rented a belt sander ($9/dy). The guy at
the rental place asked me now many belts I wanted. I didn't have any

idea.
He recommended that I take a box and return the un-used ones. It's a
heckuva lot faster to sand with a new belt, so I changed belts frequently.
Ten belts. Four bucks a belt. At $129 it still looked like a pile of
unpainted railroad ties. Another friend clued me in to Watco Danish

Rubbing
Oil. I bought a can. It cost slightly more (per unit volume) than the
brand of bourbon that I was drinking (in my formative years). Ten dollars
for a can of the stuff. I spread out a drop cloth, laid out one of the
longer pieces and drizzled a little of the oil onto the surface of the

tie.
SLURP (Ross Perot's enormous sucking sound). The stuff disappeared into

the
wood like **** into a snow bank. It took two more cans to make any
noticeable difference in the appearance. So, at $159, the end was in

sight.
Now all it needed was a glass top (1/4 inch, smoked glass, rounded edges)
$27.



My male friends all agreed that my $186 coffee table was an item of superb
design and construction. My female acquaintances seemed to feel

otherwise.
"Butt-ugly" is the term that they seemed to favor. Women, as a group,
don't appreciate fine craftsmanship.












  #4   Report Post  
Old July 15th 03, 05:04 AM
PC Gameplayer
 
Posts: n/a
Default My $11 coffee table

Gee...

snip
My male friends all agreed that my $186 coffee table was an item of superb
design and construction.


....makes me feel not so bad about my ~$30 picture frame...mind you, it
was made of exactly 4 pieces of wood (cedar 2X4's...DON'T ASK...), but
it took me about...oh, I dunno, 6-8 pieces...just to get 4 pieces of 1
X 3/4 by however long they needed to be. I also had to hand-cut
mortises, and I just kept blowing 'em out ("Great...there's ANOTHER
one for the firewood heap."). Ah, memories...

Jim
  #5   Report Post  
Old July 15th 03, 05:16 AM
Dave Balderstone
 
Posts: n/a
Default My $11 coffee table

In article , Wilson Lamb
wrote:

Would everyone please list the things women appreciate.


According to a lot of the email I've been getting, they like something
called "size" or "bigger"...

djb

--
"Wherever there is a jackboot stomping on a human face there will be a
well-heeled Western liberal to explain that the face does, after all, enjoy
free health care and 100 percent literacy." -- John Derbyshire


  #6   Report Post  
Old July 15th 03, 07:38 AM
Luigi Zanasi
 
Posts: n/a
Default My $11 coffee table

On Mon, 14 Jul 2003 21:05:10 GMT, "Bubba"
scribbled

A previous post reminded me on one of my earliest furniture projects. A
coffee table.


snip of good story

My male friends all agreed that my $186 coffee table was an item of superb
design and construction. My female acquaintances seemed to feel otherwise.
"Butt-ugly" is the term that they seemed to favor. Women, as a group,
don't appreciate fine craftsmanship.


Your post reminded me of this previous post:

http://www.google.ca/groups?selm=e2e...&output=gplain

Luigi
Replace "no" with "yk" twice
in reply address for real email address
  #7   Report Post  
Old July 15th 03, 03:21 PM
Thomas Mitchell
 
Posts: n/a
Default My $11 coffee table

yes sounds like my $1200 toy train cars.

Bubba wrote:
A previous post reminded me on one of my earliest furniture projects. A
coffee table.



I was fresh out of grad school, gainfully employed with an honest-to-gawd
salary and about to furnish my first apartment. Décor was very much of the
brick-and-board school . It occurred to me that I could make a very simple
(but striking) coffee table out of two untreated railroad ties. If memory
serves, the dimension of a tie was 6-in x 9-in x 9 feet. All it would take
would be 6 cuts: 4 to lop of a set of 6-inch pieces for the feet, 2 for the
crossbars and the remainder would be the body of the table. Simple. No
fasteners. Gravity would hold it together.



I found a supplier of ties in the yellow pages. They quoted me a price of
$5.50 per tie (this was 1970). Hey - - I could afford $11. for a coffee
table.



I rented a pick-up ($20 per day) and during my lunch hour headed for the
railroad tie boutique to collect (what was now ) a $31 coffee table. At the
tie place, I discovered a couple of things: 1) I couldn't load my own ties.
It had to be done by a union worker; 2) the union didn't work during the
lunch hour, and 3) all the really good ties were contracted to the Union
Pacific. The ones they were selling me were slightly warped. I headed
back, turned in the pickup at the rental place and learned that there was
also a 25 cent per mile charge. Now my table had become a $36 dollar item.



Several days later, I slipped out of the office early, phoned ahead to be
sure the Union was ready for me, rented a truck and picked up my $60 dollar
coffee table.



Over the weekend, I lugged the ties to the home of a friend who owned a
table saw. It took a few hours, but eventually it sunk in that the average
table saw, owned by the average compliant friend is NOT engineered to make
precision cuts (or any other sort of cuts for that matter) on a 100 lb tie
horsed onto the table and hand fed into the blade. The new blade cost $12.
It took most of Sunday, but eventually all six cuts were performed with a
hand bucksaw purchased ($8) at the local hardware store. The cuts wandered
all over the place and the ends weren't square, but what was I supposed to
expect for an $80 coffee table.



Since the ties were slightly warped, all components now had small, but
noticeable skew. No problem. I rented a belt sander ($9/dy). The guy at
the rental place asked me now many belts I wanted. I didn't have any idea.
He recommended that I take a box and return the un-used ones. It's a
heckuva lot faster to sand with a new belt, so I changed belts frequently.
Ten belts. Four bucks a belt. At $129 it still looked like a pile of
unpainted railroad ties. Another friend clued me in to Watco Danish Rubbing
Oil. I bought a can. It cost slightly more (per unit volume) than the
brand of bourbon that I was drinking (in my formative years). Ten dollars
for a can of the stuff. I spread out a drop cloth, laid out one of the
longer pieces and drizzled a little of the oil onto the surface of the tie.
SLURP (Ross Perot's enormous sucking sound). The stuff disappeared into the
wood like **** into a snow bank. It took two more cans to make any
noticeable difference in the appearance. So, at $159, the end was in sight.
Now all it needed was a glass top (1/4 inch, smoked glass, rounded edges)
$27.



My male friends all agreed that my $186 coffee table was an item of superb
design and construction. My female acquaintances seemed to feel otherwise.
"Butt-ugly" is the term that they seemed to favor. Women, as a group,
don't appreciate fine craftsmanship.











  #8   Report Post  
Old July 15th 03, 03:42 PM
Steve
 
Posts: n/a
Default My $11 coffee table


"Bubba" wrote in message
. ..
: A previous post reminded me on one of my earliest furniture projects. A
: coffee table.
::
SNIP

: My male friends all agreed that my $186 coffee table was an item of superb
: design and construction. My female acquaintances seemed to feel
otherwise.
: "Butt-ugly" is the term that they seemed to favor. Women, as a group,
: don't appreciate fine craftsmanship.

Ahh... A Feast of the Greatest Sandwich Ever:
Tongue-in-Cheek on Wry -- with just enough "horse radish" for zest :-)
--
Steve
www.ApacheTrail.com/ww/
Mesa, AZ
Penury Is the Mother of Invention


  #9   Report Post  
Old July 15th 03, 04:41 PM
Gnube
 
Posts: n/a
Default My $11 coffee table

On Mon, 14 Jul 2003 21:54:33 -0400, "Wilson Lamb"
wrote:

Would everyone please list the things women appreciate.
Oops, I mean the things men are capable of doing in their shops.
WL


Having a stash of chocolate, and occasionally dishing out a square of
it often seems to do it! ;O)

I know, it's dirty, low, underhand and decidedly sneaky as an
approach, but it DOES work 95% of the time! I know of nothing else
with such a track record! ;O)

Oh, keep the stash hid though and don't break the square off in front
of one, you'll lose the rest of the stash - keep it somewhere they'll
never find it, normally by the brooms, vac, or other clean up
implement is a pretty safe bet, since they tend to avoid those areas!

Take Care,
Gnube
I don't want to win the lottery I just want to win a barn full of seasoned timber! ;O)
  #10   Report Post  
Old July 15th 03, 05:37 PM
Ron Magen
 
Posts: n/a
Default My $11 coffee table

Nice story, Bubba-

However, when I went to college, fresh out of the USAF, I didn't have access
to any tools other than my 'issue' pocket knife.

My parents had found a two-room apartment near the college {I got an 'early
out' that allowed me one week before the start of the Fall semester - I
still had to drive from Northern California to Philly}. I'd seen pictures -
old, cracked walls {from who knows how many coats of paint OVER the OLD
wall-paper, a 'kitchenette' from the 30's, but most of all - CHEAP !! {turns
out 'Condemned', as well !!}

Being of a 'Nautical bent' I picked up an old fishing net, some glass
'floats' I brought back from SEA, some wood ones I 'saved' from family trips
to New England, and an old 'Nova Scotia style' Lobster Trap. Toss into the
mix an 'assemble-it-yourself' leather fronted bar and a 'Sheared {synthetic}
Black Fur & Tiger' sofa.

The net made a 'drop ceiling' and 'disguised the cracks & stains - no light
fixture, only painted over sconces. Draped it down in one corner as a
background to the bar . {my 'dinner table' for several months}, my medals,
some dried 'sea objects d'art' and drift wood adding interesting touches.
The Trap became the 'coffee table'.

With understandable pride, I showed it off to a recent acquaintance at
school - also ex-USAF, but living at home. "Where's the 105 ?", were his
first words. "This place looks like an 'Artillery Pit' ".

One of my first 'female invitees' had a different take; "Interesting
decorating scheme - 'Early Whorehouse', isn't it ?" {Obviously a 'Design'
Student}.

Regards,
Ron Magen
Backyard Boatshop

PS: The fact that this year will be our 30th wedding anniversary, and that
is the apartment I was living in when I met her, must mean something . . .

"Bubba" wrote in message
. ..
A previous post reminded me on one of my earliest furniture projects. A
coffee table.



I was fresh out of grad school, gainfully employed with an

honest-to-gawd
salary and about to furnish my first apartment. Décor was very much of

the
brick-and-board school . It occurred to me that I could make a very

simple
(but striking) coffee table out of two untreated railroad ties. If

memory
serves, the dimension of a tie was 6-in x 9-in x 9 feet. All it would

take
would be 6 cuts: 4 to lop of a set of 6-inch pieces for the feet, 2 for

the
crossbars and the remainder would be the body of the table. Simple. No
fasteners. Gravity would hold it together.



I found a supplier of ties in the yellow pages. They quoted me a price

of
$5.50 per tie (this was 1970). Hey - - I could afford $11. for a coffee
table.



I rented a pick-up ($20 per day) and during my lunch hour headed for the
railroad tie boutique to collect (what was now ) a $31 coffee table. At

the
tie place, I discovered a couple of things: 1) I couldn't load my own

ties.
It had to be done by a union worker; 2) the union didn't work during the
lunch hour, and 3) all the really good ties were contracted to the Union
Pacific. The ones they were selling me were slightly warped. I headed
back, turned in the pickup at the rental place and learned that there

was
also a 25 cent per mile charge. Now my table had become a $36 dollar

item.



Several days later, I slipped out of the office early, phoned ahead to

be
sure the Union was ready for me, rented a truck and picked up my $60

dollar
coffee table.



Over the weekend, I lugged the ties to the home of a friend who owned a
table saw. It took a few hours, but eventually it sunk in that the

average
table saw, owned by the average compliant friend is NOT engineered to

make
precision cuts (or any other sort of cuts for that matter) on a 100 lb

tie
horsed onto the table and hand fed into the blade. The new blade cost

$12.
It took most of Sunday, but eventually all six cuts were performed with

a
hand bucksaw purchased ($8) at the local hardware store. The cuts

wandered
all over the place and the ends weren't square, but what was I supposed

to
expect for an $80 coffee table.



Since the ties were slightly warped, all components now had small, but
noticeable skew. No problem. I rented a belt sander ($9/dy). The guy

at
the rental place asked me now many belts I wanted. I didn't have any

idea.
He recommended that I take a box and return the un-used ones. It's a
heckuva lot faster to sand with a new belt, so I changed belts

frequently.
Ten belts. Four bucks a belt. At $129 it still looked like a pile of
unpainted railroad ties. Another friend clued me in to Watco Danish

Rubbing
Oil. I bought a can. It cost slightly more (per unit volume) than the
brand of bourbon that I was drinking (in my formative years). Ten

dollars
for a can of the stuff. I spread out a drop cloth, laid out one of the
longer pieces and drizzled a little of the oil onto the surface of the

tie.
SLURP (Ross Perot's enormous sucking sound). The stuff disappeared into

the
wood like **** into a snow bank. It took two more cans to make any
noticeable difference in the appearance. So, at $159, the end was in

sight.
Now all it needed was a glass top (1/4 inch, smoked glass, rounded

edges)
$27.



My male friends all agreed that my $186 coffee table was an item of

superb
design and construction. My female acquaintances seemed to feel

otherwise.
"Butt-ugly" is the term that they seemed to favor. Women, as a group,
don't appreciate fine craftsmanship.






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