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Renovation

I want a table.
I go down to where the wood is,
The corner of my basement workshop;
The wood is dark, oxidised for 50 years
On the walls of my Grandma’s house.
I stretch out my tape:
36 inches, 40, 48, yes,
That’s it.
I cut two pieces to 48.
The pieces are milled
With a design on one side;
I turn them over, flat side up,
And mitre cut the ends, 45 degrees,
To make a sort of frame
Round the two middle boards.
I glue the tongues into the grooves
And my top is done.
I rip the rails from the 1×6
Down to 3 inches broad,
And cut them 46 inches long,
The ends 18.
I cut the legs from 2×2,
15¼ inches high.
I join the base to the top
With little pieces, ¾×¾,
Pilot-drilled and counter-sunk
On adjacent sides,
To screw into rails and top,
Inside one, and under the other,
Hidden, unattractive, but essential.
Then I sand and sand,
My random-orbit electric sander
Vibrating my hand so it tingles
For hours after.
Now the top is smooth,
Ready for polyurethane.
Long, careful strokes
Pull it into the grain;
The wood drinks deep;
Having been dry so long,
Its thirst is great.
Thus does old become new.


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