We ripped out our kitchen on March 1 and have spent the last 10 weeks waiting for a safe time (with procedures sanctioned by state health officials) to resume the work. This week the cabinets arrived, and so I recruited Megan Fitzpatrick to help me make the maple countertops.
I haven’t written about this project because it is deeply personal. I do almost all the cooking in our house, and my ideas about kitchens are not in line with the mainstream. Frankly, I suspect I am a little off base, and I didn’t have the stomach for the criticism.
But there is one funny exchange I’d like to mention.
Today Megan and I built the 11’ section of countertop that has to be installed in pieces for a variety of reasons. I’d surfaced and glued up the maple and had gone into total “machine production” mode, like when I worked at a door factory.
So after cutting the components to size, I got out the sanders to dress the panels. After 5 minutes of sanding, Megan stopped her buzzing machine.
“I think a handplane would be faster,” she said.
I laughed. She was completely correct. I grabbed my jack plane and dressed both faces of the two countertops in less than 30 minutes. After I planed the first countertop, Megan began sanding the countertop to a higher grit.
I walked over to her bench with a card scraper and began dressing the surface.
We put the sanders away and spent the rest of the day blasting Jason Isbell’s new album, “Reunions,” and getting the job done faster, with crisper results.
“Haha,” I said. “Hand tools are faster.”
“Haha,” she said. “Who ever said that?”
— Christopher Schwarz