Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Short sheeted

Monday was rough. We cut the center panel to size and cut the hole for the light fixture in it without a problem, but then for some reason we were having a really hard time getting the panel to line up correctly. Twice, we started screwing it in and then had to back 'em out and try again.

We also discovered that the nice red piece with weird and beautiful lines in it - the one that we were depending on to complete the dark center stripe in the living room - was very damaged. The thin veneer was all warped and cracked. Great, now what.

We took a descriptive inventory of the remaining ceiling material. Each piece is different and we have taken pains to consider all of this while laying out the design. We decided we would take the damaged one back and try to pick out one of similar color tone.

I just hate those nights when we accomplish only a fraction of what we thought we would.

So Tuesday I took a ride over to the builder's supply company where we purchased the original 13 sheets of birch plywood. A guy at the counter recognized me and remembered that we had returned another 4x8 sheet of damaged wood, I corrected him that it was the plybead last time and it's the birch this time. He seemed annoyed. Well whatever - so was I. Maybe if they didn't back over these expensive sheets of wood with a forklift before selling them, people wouldn't have to bring them back.

I pulled around to the loading dock to help select the new piece. "I need a red one. Some are light, some are dark." They gave me the first one off the top. "No man, red. Some are dark. This is light." He looked at me like I was crazy. I tried to tell him what we got last time. Another guy came over. He told the first guy to just take the whole stack down (20 sheets or so, about 10 feet up) and let me look through them.

I looked and looked. No dark sheets. Now what? I took a nice clean sheet. We call them "blanks," since they're light in color and have few to no knots.

Talking with one of the dudes, I learned that our first batch of birch was uncommon. We had red ones in there, blond sheets with beautiful knots and lines, wormy stripes, all sorts of variation that we hadn't expected. Most batches are like the one I brought home yesterday. Considering we based our entire dining room and living room designs on having dark and light sheets, we could have been a lot worse off. At least we were only short one red sheet.

It was totally by chance that we ended up with some red and some knotty sheets and we're thankful to have them. None the less and true to form, we've ended up with some unique or rare need. What's our problem?

The evening was a success, though. Erika came up with a design change that really saved our dark strip design. The first panel (by the beam) is four feet. The center one is two feet. We decided to make the next panel one foot, using a scrap from a dark piece...sort of a tapering off, or transition into the final, larger, blank piece. But then we had another look at a sheet we dubbed "red clouds," which was mostly light but had some red stripes in it. Perfect to complete the "tapering" effect and transition the red to blond.

By the way, we started drinking coffee at 7PM. I really think that coffee is helping us.

The measuring, cutting, marking, transposing, and drilling all went smoothly, as did the installation of both of these panels. We felt good.

- John

Some more shots from Tuesday night: