(Antfer) #1
8 September 2019


Y WIFE AND I assessed
what we needed: a
media console, a bed
frame, a coffee table.
I thought the same
thing that most of you
reading this publica-
tion would probably
think: “I’m building at least one of
these things myself.”
A few days later, that thought
died. Specifically, it died when I
clicked Complete Checkout, for
two articles made of the cheap
particle board furniture that anyone
handy, or seeking to become handy,
is supposed to denounce. I even
had access to expensive tools and
expert colleagues that could guide
me through a satisfying project.
Instead, I bought a TV table from—
good God—Urban Outfitters. Now
I’m waiting for Bob Vila to show up
and take away my tape measure.
I know I’m not the only one who
caves and buys against his or her
own morals. And I’m not suggesting
that those of us unable to carve our
own headboards should only buy
from third-generation carpenters.

I mean, we should, but that’s a
separate story. The reason those
purchases stung was because, before
I ordered those things, it had already
been weeks since I’d really used my
hands for anything besides texting
or eating. Even if the Alexander
George Signature Collection Media
Console would’ve been so ugly that
I was justified in my purchase, the
choice was at least a reminder that
I had gone too long without any
kind of project. My buying-versus-
building ratio was skewing in the
wrong direction.
Consider this a nudge to my fellow
soft-handed sisters and brothers who
are overdue to do something manual
and potentially tedious. Wipe down
your car interior, help someone
move, or rehang that crooked photo.
When my furniture arrives and I
watch two people who aren’t me put
it all together, I’ll hopefully have
just finished a valve adjustment on
my motorcycle, or at least Dremeled
something with my Dremel.
I asked the handiest people on
staff whether my guilt was justified.
They had some advice.

The Editor

Embrace the


of Ordering

Your Furniture

Buy Cheap,
Build Later
When there’s an
immediate need for
a piece of furniture,
and it’s something
that I have wanted
to make, refinish,
or restore, it’s rare
that the project can
be completed fast
enough—and if it
can, I end up cutting
corners. If I can find
something from
Wayfair that works,
for now, it takes
the pressure off.
Without the rush, I
feel more comfort-
able taking the time
I need to do it right.
Plus, having some-
thing I don’t love
motivates me to get
it done.—Brad Ford,
Te s t Ed i to r

I know it sounds
kind of severe and
old school, but learn
basic woodwork-
ing first. You may
want to build that
media console out
of construction
lumber, or whatever,
but you won’t be
happy with it. The
way to go about this
is to learn to build
something you’ll be
happy with. Start
with a core modern
woodworking kit: a
square, a cordless
circular saw, a cord-
less drill driver, and a
basic pocket-screw
kit. Build sawhorses.
Top the sawhorses
with plywood. Now
you have a work sur-
face, and can start
to build basic paint-
grade furniture.
—Roy Berendsohn,
Te s t Ed i to r