Those of us who are of sufficient age will remember the above title as the late President Reagan’s favorite phrase during negotiations with Prime Minister Gorbachev, in the Cold War period of Detente. While my relationship with magazine editors is not exactly Cold War epic, I do think that President Reagan’s favorite phrase is appropriate.
It’s no secret that, with some exceptions, I use other people’s designs for most of my work. I generally prefer to do the woodwork, and leave the design work to others. However, this practice does have inherent risks. In this case, I built a dock chair from a plan published in an old magazine article. The chair looked good, and potentially comfortable, and the knockdown & nesting feature was intriguing.
The problem arose when I used the downloadable, full sized plans for the leg profiles. Although the photos in the article showed the chair parts nesting, when I made it from the provided profiles, the parts would not nest. Checking back to the article, the chair in the photos was clearly not the chair of the downloaded plans. The author had even mentioned that he made aesthetic “adjustments” to the plans. IMHO the truly guilty party in this malfunction is the magazine editor, who did not insist on a chair made from the “adjusted” plan. Once I compared the templates that I made, it was clear that one would not fit inside the other.
Therefore, I advanced upon a protracted struggle with reverse engineering the chair in the magazine photos. It took me three failures, and numerous adjustments to the intersection between the final shapes before I was satisfied with a chair that was both comfortable, and functional.
The prototype is not for sale, but the next few will be. If you’re coming to the Pig Out this weekend, you can try it out for yourself. Oh, and if you think that yellow is an odd color to accompany the unfinished cedar, then try to imagine the cedar in a weathered grey color.
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