Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Cable Spool Table

The day I saw this cable spool table on Country Living, I emailed Lawrence and told him that I needed a handyman, but that since I couldn’t find one I’d have to settle for that bloke who uses a hammer to fix sewing machines. At this point, I was still so unskilled in DIY that I’d only passed high school woodwork by sweet-talking a boy into doing it for me, so it was lucky he accepted my request.

Dowel is apparently the approximate cost of solid ivory, so we used curtain rods from Spotlight instead. As instructed, we drilled holes in the bottom of the spool the same diameter as the rods, and hammered them through. The problem is, of course, that if you drill the holes on a slight angle, the rods will also be on a slight angle. If you drill them on a sharp angle, the rods will look like a cheap version of the Leaning Tower.

We also drilled holes on the top: not all the way through, but deep enough to squirt in some glue and stick in the rods, to make sure they wouldn’t slide around. It also helps force them straighter.

I would have liked the natural wood look, but this is what I was working with:

After endless belt-sanding, Zoe voted for blue or green paint, but given that it was going next to yellow curtains and brown carpet, I went with Lyndon’s suggestion of brown. When we move, I’ll repaint - if I’ve overcome my phobia of the paint section by then. (Fun fact: our local store is called The Paint Shop, and its helpful slogan, in case anybody was still confused, is “It’s where you buy paint!”)

But this wasn’t a pretty, petite cable spool like the one of the tutorial: this was the Hagrid of cable spools, and when I put my books and records on they were, comparatively speaking, the size of Professor Flitwick. I wanted to do something to make all that gaping emptiness look deliberate (“I meant to do that!”), so I decided to spray paint a short quote around the top of the interior. Eventually I settled on ‘the world is quiet here’: it seemed appropriate for our house, since three of its four residents met while working in a children’s bookshop.

(I was also strongly considering “we are all mad here”, which would have described our household just as well.) I wish the idea had occurred to me before we put the rods in, because measuring, taping the stencil in place and spray painting with them as obstacles was like trying to clap with your hands tied together: it should be easy, but you just don’t have the room. As a result, the paint job turned out….distressed. (“I meant to do that!”)

The last step was attaching the castors, scrounged from Dad’s garage and finally something was just the perfect size. We chipped the wood off the outside of the castors, leaving just the metal, which fitted snugly inside the curtain rods, with a healthy helping of glue to seal the deal. This meant we didn’t have to drill right through and have the books sitting on an unsightly bolt. We were planning to use four to make it more stable but Lawrence broke one, so I have to chase people away when they try to sit on it.

I like it. Which will make life difficult, because I’m going to have to pick my next house based on whether it’s big enough to accommodate this behemoth.

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