Rendered Fat Content



" … to square up that which was never square to begin with … "

The Muse holds woodshop fantasies. She dreams of sawing and planing and sanding fine wooden creations into existence. I'm the guy who hopes to never own another power tool and wouldn't use a powered saw if I had one. My sander's plenty of power tool for me. She seems to embrace opportunities to cope with obtuse angles while I seek opportunities to avoid them, yet here I am, facing a stack of mitered corners needing mending.

The Villa might be classified as a foursquare, but it's not precisely square, not rectangular, either.
You see, its exterior walls flair at the bottom, like a skirt, the bottom of each wall extending a few inches further outward than does the top. Further, while some houses of this vintage feature corner boards, that skirt-like flair rendered those impossible to fit, so the siding boards were painstakingly mitered at the corners, fitted like fine furniture, then secured with the tiniest possible finishing nails. A hundred and sixteen years later, those miters have lost their joins. They've separated and stand gaping, aching for mending. I'm no woodworker by temperament or training, but my repainting job promises to teach me something about MendingMitres.
And isn't this just how it always is? One sets out to simply do something only to learn that that something would not be nearly so simple, always some complication. Sign up for painting and you sign up for prepping, too, and schlepping scaffolding. Actual painting seems almost the smallest part of the effort, between all the various set-up and break-down tasks, each of which the budding painter must also master, or at least attempt to sequester such that they won't undermine the intention of painting. This morning, I can confidently claim that I know next to nothing about Mending Mitres. By this evening, I will very likely become at least a student and perhaps an apprentice. I will be plotting resolutions and probably learning something.
When we bought this place, back in the pre-history light ages before 9/11, I knew for certain that I would eventually touch every square centimeter of surface in this place. Some only once with purpose, and others, over and over and over again. Nobody ever manages to get out of owning a house without experiencing such disarming intimacies and without growing to become someone they'd never intended to become. A jack of many trades and very likely a master of none of them. I will consult with Kurt Our Painter who, as a painter, has become the jack of more trades than most. If he hasn't prepped a similar surface, he's very likely known someone who has and at least carries some lore about how the ancients coped with such situations. I'll listen to his stories and cobble together some strategy. I suspect that I'm about to enter a graduate seminar in applied epoxy or Bondo®, understanding that I'll only be aspiring to fool observing eyes, to square up that which was never square to begin with, and with a flair.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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