The Project Completed
It took them about an hour to sand and prep the pieces for finishing. Art was looking at the can of stain they had bought and read “Drying time 8 to 12 hours”. His father saw the concerned expression on Art’s face and asked him. “What is the problem?” Art replied, “I can’t wait 8 to 12 hours to give this to mom.” Hank smiled and said, “You may not have to. Do you know where I keep the shoeshine kit?” Art acknowledged he did. Hank continued, “Go get it and bring it to me please.” Art obeyed but was very confused. He returned with the shoeshine kit. Hank thanked him and asked. “Did you tell your mother anything?” Art replied, “No, I think she was upstairs. I did not see her.”
Hank opened the shoeshine kit and was pawing over its contents. He said, “I’m going to show you a way to make this look real pretty and we will not have to wait 8 hours.” Hank produced a tin of brown wax from the kit and a swatch of felt rag. Handing them to Art he said, “Rub this on the surfaces that will not be touching the wall.” Art understood but thought he might be ruining his project. Hank saw Art’s reluctance and said. “This is how I finished the stock on my deer rifle.” Art loved the color and feel of the stock and set about applying the brown polish to the wood. Hank encouraged, “This way we can finish the shelf today.” Art responded, “Great”. Hank continued, “The more you rub, deeper into the wood the polish will go. It will have a mat finish that does not reflect as much light, but protects the wood just fine, and, I think it looks good too.”
Art had smeared a generous amount of shoe polish on one surface and was rubbing it in. The wood began to accept the stain as the polish liquefied from the rubbing. Art covered each part until they looked to be approximately the same color.
Hank examined Art’s work and suggested a few places that needed extra attention. Then he gave him a clean piece of cloth and instructed him to wipe off everything he could. This part of the process went very quickly and the surfaces took on a mat shine and the grain of the wood showed plainly in a reddish-brown.
Hank took one of the pieces and held it up at a distance for Art to look at and asked, “What do you think?” Art was very pleased with the effect. He replied with a satisfied grin, “Looks good, real good.” Hank assembled the pieces with glue and screws. The process was a lesson that Art would use many times in the future.
Hank held up the completed shelf for Art’s approval. Art was so happy. He spontaneously hugged his dad and said a heartfelt, “Thank you!”
Hank was touched by Art’s sincerity and affection. He silently thanked God for the opportunity. He gave Art a squeeze, tousled his hair and said, “You are certainly welcome.”