have a look at this?" the Senior Cat asked me.
He doesn't often interrupt me if I am at the computer so I assumed it was important.
He had begun work on what will be a bigger project than he expected. A neighbour had asked him whether he could "fix" a sideboard she had bought. The Senior Cat hates to say "no" so he agreed but, as is often the case, this is full of unexpected problems.
The object in question probably dates from the 1930's. (I did some on line research and found some of very similar design dating from that era.) It is, to put it mildly, not well made.
The Senior Cat showed me what was bothering him. Was he right? I got right down to look at it in a way he could not. Unfortunately he was right, indeed it looked worse from where I could see it. I could see the same long split in the timber at a crucial point. It will need urgent attention.
And then I looked at the drawers. There are three. The Senior Cat had taken them out and put them to one side.
"The drawers are pretty awful too," I told him.
He had not actually looked at them. I showed him. The runners are so worn that they actually cave in. The backs are coming away. He groaned.
We spent more time going over the object. I am not by any means a woodworker although living with the Senior Cat has taught me something. The timber which was used has shrunk. There are gaps where there should not be gaps. The back is a piece of cheap, cracked plywood which is breaking off at the edges. Inside someone has covered two shelves with cheap brown plastic which is intended to look like timber but looks like - well cheap brown plastic.
The neighbour did not buy it as a piece of antique furniture but she still paid a hefty price for it in a second hand furniture store. She liked the look of it. If you like that sort of thing then yes, it is pleasing to look at from a distance and it would make a nice addition to a room decorated in that style.
The Senior Cat asked me if she could return it and get her money back. Unfortunately the answer is no. A smart dealer might give her a few dollars for it but the second hand dealer must have heaved a sigh of relief when it went out the door.
Last night the Senior Cat explained all this. Did she still want him to do anything with it.
Yes, she is in love with it. Please would he do whatever he could with it.
It's the sort of challenge he still loves. I'll leave him to his wood dust and glue and slivers of timber to repair the cracks - and hope she lovingly dusts it when it is done.