Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Grace-Bench

In the Old Testament we read about the Mercy Seat, later personified in Jesus through whom we find grace and redemption from sin and imperfection. Funny how a wood working project takes my thoughts to the greatest Carpenter of all time. You see, we set out to make a bench of sorts to replace our irreparable couches, and accidentally built a Grace-Bench. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

As I mentioned it my post about making the bag chair, these sofas were useless in their present state of ruin, but I rescued a portion of the materials and re-purposed them. Three days ago the last piece of the set was banished from our living room as a little step of faith that provision would come for replacing them with a home made bench. Our faith was rewarded, and this morning we made a trip to a warehouse filled with recycled wood from pallets and posts used in shipping. $14 purchased a piece of plywood, 4 short 3x3 posts, and two long boards. At another warehouse, our carpenter friend cheerfully did a bit of sanding and cut the sheet to size before we brought it all home.
Lunch and a trip for some screws, and we were ready to get started. Well, ready after a fashion: the tape measures and square are still lost, and I should have been sitting at the school table with the girls. But both of us were over-excited, and, well, this is what happened:

We marked the first two cuts, and after they were made, realized that we remembered to add the thickness of only one board beyond the plywood instead of two. The first alteration in our plans. Ok, so we won't have the end pieces fit inside the long boards; it'll work if we set them end to side to end to side (see the photo?).

Next, we realized that we cut the boards to fit around the plywood. So the top will fit inside instead of over the side rails (as originally planned); oh well, it'll work.
Putting the frame together, we realized our cuts were imperfect. By putting our cuts on the outside edge, we hoped to avoid distortions.
An extra rail will hold the plywood firmly--it is attached with 4 screws and glue (just like the leg posts will be). And now we see that the rails are crooked.

A cross-brace to keep the top from sagging...or breaking under the force of rough-housing. Oh, you didn't know girls do that too?

Doesn't he look good? Oh, sorry, but I am glad he had the foresight to add glue, making the furniture very durable. Guess what. The posts aren't cut quite flat on either end.

Woo-hoo!! Assembly finished! And the amazing thing is that it doesn't wobble one little bit. Chuy screwed the top into the braces and then we moved it to the living room.

A cute little model checks it out for size.
So in spite of all it's imperfections, crude assembly method and utter absence of skill, our family has a reasonably comfortable place to sit or even offer to Grandma for a bed when she comes to visit from Gingolandia. I call it the Grace-Bench for all the grace that covered our many mistakes. I have no idea why it's so steady when it is so crooked under the blanket, but I'm happy it is!

We considered it a good day's work, but it'll take some more work to paint it and sew a cover for a foam cushion. Eventually, we plan to replace the plywood with a piece that will cover the frame and use this piece and others to turn it into a box with a hinged lid. Voila, instant storage for blankets, pillows and even toys!

I pray our little project will remind you of the Grace available to you to cover your imperfections, and that you'll accept the Carpenter's invitation to the Mercy Seat today. Have a blessed day!

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