When life throws lemons at you

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Tails, I win

As a wise man once said, progress doesn’t always follow a straight line. After stupidly selecting a board of wood that was 1.5 inches too narrow for my footstool’s legs, Monday and Tuesday were spent in a gluey holding pattern. My teachers kindly reassured me that my measurement error was a “design opportunity,” and after milling up a couple more pieces, we glued together a new set of legs to correct width. As it turns out, the wood glue that we use in school is even stronger than the wood’s natural lignans, so it remains structurally sound, if not sound-er.

With my blunder behind me, I hand-cut the dovetails from the top piece of my footstool (see above). But as I was pairing away with my chisel, I began to notice that the oak was acquiring a number of smudgy stains. Since I rarely go ten minutes without asking my teachers a question, they were unsurprised to find me stumped. Allegedly (though I couldn’t find anything to corroborate this online), I have high levels of iron in my sweat that causes wood to discolor. Fortunately, there’s an eco-friendly solution: rubbing lemon juice across the wood creates a natural barrier to mutant sweat like mine. If only I didn’t have these tiny cuts all over my fingers! Oh, the irony!

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A subtle difference…sweat stained wood on left, pristine on right

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