About an inch

An inch is almost nothing; or, it's ridiculously huge...it all depends on the circumstances. Not just in woodworking, but all circumstances. If you have an inch long piece of wood, it seems pretty small, unless it's lodged in your finger, at which point, it feels like a log.

Today, I undertook a half hour long chore of changing something by an inch: the height of my bed. Normally, the height of my bed is of little consequence: I have comfortably slept at floor level and in a loft. But we recently changed our mattress and box spring (to Caspar...I highly recommend them and they do not sponsor me). Our previous set was a bit thicker; I designed our bed frame for that set. Consequently, when sitting or reading in bed, the gap between the headboard and mattress was large enough that pillows was slowly slid down between the gap until you were completely uncomfortable. This was disappointing. It took all the fun out of reading in bed.

Fortunately, when you design and build your own furniture, you can easily remedy such calamities. The brackets holding the box spring were initially installed at the very bottom of the frame. When I pulled off the mattress and box spring this morning, I saw that I had about an inch of change I could make...so I made it. This simple adjustment required just moving a few screws and drilling a few more holes. And now, one can lay in bed and read, or sit up, without losing their comfy support...a dream so many have.

Why do I feel compelled to share this inane story of homemaking/woodworking? Too often, we live with unsatisfactory goods, workmanship, or circumstances. We have grown accustomed to a lot of crummy products (like $500 "smart phones" that need to be replaced after 2 years). We accept discomfort and inconvenience in our products too soon, too easily. It was the realization that furniture was designed for houses much bigger than the one I lived in, and often built by kids in foreign countries, that I decided I would make my own, with better designs, better materials, and less child labor (OK...NO child labor). *Child labor is not a joking matter.

While actually designing and building the furniture takes some years of study and practice, it is attainable. And if furniture and wood ain't your thing, maybe metal and tools are; or cooking; or gardening. You don't have to become a master; today, my little dose of fulfillment and measureable change came with tools and abilities most people have: a drill and a screw driver. In another set of circumstances, I could have lived with an ill-suited bed frame, bought a new one, or improvised in some other way. But the freedom afforded by owning a few tools and having a little experience and gumption, mean I now have a more comfortable bed, didn't have to spend any money, and I had a little dose of fulfilling activity on Saturday.