A Brief Intermission, or, Not Your Normal Nine To Five

September 29, 2013

WELL… we were sailing along, in the home stretch of completing the 1880’s rocking chair, when the email came.

‘Dear Mr. Tabor, Basically, if you don’t get our jobs done by a certain date, it will make a major problem from here to New York.’

So I scramble, ask my finisher, “Can you have your part done by then?”  “Just barely, maybe.”  I reply, “Okay, ma’am, we’ll give it a go.”

Next email arrives.  ‘Mr. Tabor, I just found out that just won’t do.  In fact, ONLY if you have it done and ready to deliver a full week earlier can a major problem be averted.’  Well, you can’t run a business catering to everyone’s whims, but the more I learn of the situation, the more I see, yes, it’s a legitimate need.  Okay, back to the finisher, discuss it till we find a solution: IF I hand strip the damaged finish off the table top, two leaves, and sideboard top starting right now, it’ll coincide with when he’s already finishing some other stuff — he can just fit ’em in with his flow.  Then I can be doing everything else while he’s doing the tops.  Email back — and call — my distressed client.  Yes, ma’am, I understand your predicament, and yes, I think there’s a way your pieces can be done in time.  (You could feel the relief over the phone.)  So I dove in.

Geez, I haven’t stripped in years.  But I have what I need, and it comes back to me pretty quick.  I set up the sawhorses in front of the shop, and start on the sideboard top.  Solid Mahogany, sweet.  Not much finish left, no paint, it comes clean quickly.  So all this happens in one day, Friday.  The goal is to get the four stripped tops to the finisher by Monday.  There’s rain coming — it’s always best to strip outside — but I’m committed.

Next — Can I get ’em done on time?  How about the extensive repairs to the Sideboard case?  Can the finisher match the original color of the tops?  Stay tuned for the next episode of “As The Cabinetmaker Turns”.