Full steam ahead


Andrea Hargreaves

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I"m just back from the delightful Le Marche area of Italy where my daughter has a holiday house. It was literally a flying overnight visit, designed to boost the profits of IKEA and generally make the house even prettier for visitors. Anyway one of the things on the list was Danish oil. Thinks: why didn"t I bring some with me? IKEA couldn"t rustle up a single tin in their vast hanger of a super-supermercato so I bought some antique stain wood preserver and then set to applying it. And it was raining so the job had to be delayed until the next morning, which dawned fine and clear.

However, with the return plane flight time looming I had one and half hours to treat six steamers, four wooden armchairs and three small tables. Well, I did it but how well I wouldn"t like to say, but better an indifferent job than no job at all. What I can"t decide is whether this attitude applies to everything we do woodwork-wise. I suppose it depends on the job. In this case second coats can and should be applied as soon as possible, and followed up with more. But were I to be contemplating making a serious piece of furniture, which I"m not as I am an appreciator of fine pieces, not a maker, then I would expect the job not to be undertaken in any piecemeal, make-do sort of way.

I do, however, believe in opportunism, always thinking that if you get the smallest window to do anything you should take it.

Perhaps guests at the Italian house should be invited to dip into the stain and apply a coat or two, thus earning an hour on the sunbed they have protected.

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