The Secrets of Sanding
Your father taught you the art, never imagining
how many applications it would have –
the secret of sanding.
It is in the pressure. Always light. Tender.
Almost like a lover. Never bearing down hard.
letting the layers strip, one after another,
never too vigorous,
coaxing off layers of old finish,
careful not to take too much of the essential wood.
It takes more time, yes, but ah the results,
a perfect place to begin anew,
to lay down a fresh finish,
rich in the colors of the wood’s soul,
the finish too, in thin, light layers
one after another. Beautiful and layered,
Nuanced and true. Far stronger
than thickness and rushing,
made to last a lifetime.
All because of the time spent
About this poem.
I had a conversation at my favorite diner today about the time after I came apart, and the slow journey back to myself, both the restoration and the recreation, and it struck me how like refinishing furniture the process was.
My father taught me refinishing when I was young. It’s a skill that has served me well over the years.
The picture is of a table I redid for my wife after we got married. Her old kitchen table.