November 12, 2011

Photo of the day: 099

Filed under: Uncategorized — paul davis @ 10:28 am

“It looks like you might have a knife hidden in your shoe,” the nice TSA lady in Seattle said. “I need to look at it.”

On the strength of two datapoints, I can report that taking woodworking implements through security in your carryon bag will provoke. I am fond of my woodworking implements, which is why I was taking them through security in my carryon bag, why I was carrying them with me to Seattle, for that matter, and why I was careful to place anything that could possibly be considered knife-like in my checked bag, so it would not be seized. Still, when you hear a sentence like that from a nice TSA lady, you have some doubt that you’ve been careful enough. I’ve spent ten years on the terrorist watch list, since the days immediately after September 11, 2001, when the name “Paul Davis” must have been popular among terrorists, and even now I pause to consider whether typing the word “terrorist” here is tripping NSA filters and extending my stay on the terrorist watch list…do you think terrorists use the word “terrorist” self-descriptively, really? “Terrorist” is something you call somebody else. What you are is a “patriot.”

…so my response to her need to look at the knife I had hidden in my sneaker, when, after all, my role in the proceedings was to sit on a bench and look calmly aterrorist–she wasn’t going to let me touch my bag, my sneaker, or anything else–was, “…?”

She unzipped the bag, which she had carried, improbably, out of the security area and into the flow of traffic on the concourse–enthroning it on a high table with a flourish and that phrase “a knife hidden in your shoe” ringing out a bit triumphally to what had become a small gathering of cheerfully suspicious fellow fliers–they now looked at me, sitting on the bench, literally sitting on my guilty hands, looking up at them, and we all waited for the denouement.

She pulled my sneaker from the bag, held it at chest level. My sneaker is a size 14, circa 2003, inexpensive then, beneath reproach now. Into it, I had, as always on return flights, stuffed used socks. In one of the socks bulged a menacing object. Palpably menacing, even I, who could not now remember exactly what object, among many precious objects, I had stuffed into that particular dirty sock, would say. I was desperately hoping it wasn’t my gorgeous Lie-Nielsen curved bottom spokeshave in bronze with bubinga handles the previous owner had turned himself. That spokeshave has a blade–a very small blade, but in the right hands it could bring down an airliner–and so I was pretty sure I had stuffed it in yet another dirty sock and packed it in my checked bag.

She held up the sock. We looked at it, bulging. There was menace, we could all feel it. I wanted an arrest, a perp being led away in irons, as much as anyone.

Out of it she drew the object at the top of this page. It had been freighted with meaning, with a mob’s desire for that bad thing we had feared to come true. “What is this?” she asked. I got up to look. “It’s a woodworking tool,” I said, giving my brain time to return to what was really before us. “It’s used to hone plane blades.” There it was, the word “plane” and the word “blade” in one sentence. “Um,” I said.

We all leaned in, looking closely. There seemed to be nothing sharp to it at all. “Well,” she said, “you can see why the screener thought it was a knife.”

I woke up in Kansas City this morning. I left the table behind, in Bellingham. There it is.

Funny, it looks small now.

So, remember, it’s nearly nine feet long and four feet wide. It fits very comfortably in this space, though. It’s hard to take photos of big furniture in place–foreshortening makes the table look smaller and yet more crowded in the space.

My dad and I took the previous table apart and moved the chairs out of the way. While we carried the base upstairs, my mom was moved to mop the floor. How could you not, really?

Nigel and I carried the slabs upstairs. I’d been hoping to do that by going around the outside, avoiding several turns at doors and stairs, but there was a howling wind and rainstorm going on. It really wasn’t too bad getting them up there.

It’s little details like this that make me enjoy things made of wood.

Lying on my back on the freshly mopped floor, I put a couple of the lag screws through the base crossbar into the top, just to establish a starting point in getting the slabs flat and flush.

Then I installed the cross bolts from underneath while Nigel and Dad pressed down and pulled up to align the joined edges. The slabs have moved a little since being surfaced flat, and might continue to do so. There’s plenty of room to adjust things back to tolerably flat and flush over time.

That edge looks more dramatic all the time. I smoothed the sharp parts–it feels fine to sit at it.

So, that’s it for the table saga.

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