City Lumber: Jobs large & small

This is a guest post by Bill Fowler

It’s not easy to find a Christmas gift for my father-in-law. He’s a doctor and as you know, they already have everything. Every year my wife and I struggle to come up with that cool something that he’ll like besides yet another shirt or gift card.

Last December, as we’re thinking of what to get him, I had the best idea. He’d done some remodeling around his pool that spring, and we had spent most of that summer enjoying the patio, the new grilling area and beautiful stone fireplace. It was a great spot to sit and enjoy a beer or two, but it did lack something. It seemed that while sitting by the pool talking, we could never keep up with the bottle opener. What a hardship! We always forgot to bring one and we would end up opening bottles with keys or on the edge of the table. Not good. Eureka! I’d make him an outdoor, hand-crafted, personalized wall-mounted bottle opener!

Now I’m not exactly crafty or even remotely handy, but even I could get a piece of wood and buy the hardware necessary to piece together a simple device to separate the cap from bottles that he could mount out by the pool.

Step one, was research. I got on Etsy.com and Pinterest.com to research other wall-mounted openers. That was when I realized that maybe this was going to be tougher than I thought. I saw tons of openers that were a lot more ornate than what I had in mind. Openers worthy of Martha Stewart or at the least, Patrick Stewart.

These examples I found were beautiful. The wood these people had used wasn’t just a 2×4 off the shelf from your local hardware store. No, the wood I was seeing was much cooler – like cedar or walnut. It soon became clear that the hardware and construction aspects of my handmade bottle opener were going to be the easy parts. The wood was going to be the real challenge. I had to have just the right piece to make it special. Something unique, like my father-in-law! You get the idea.

I wasn’t sure where I might go to buy a single piece of wood. I was afraid I’d have to just go to Lowe’s or Home Depot and take whatever they had. On a whim, and completely grasping at straws, I picked up the phone and called my friend Jason Terry. I told him what I was doing and he said he had just the thing. The next day, I walking out of City Lumber with a perfectly cut piece of old cedar plank. It was nice piece of wood and ideal for my project. It was beautifully nicked up and looked a little old. Just like my father-in-law!

A few days and several layers of stain and sealant later, my wood was finished. I added the hardware and threw on some paint and more varnish to protect the thing from the elements. Voila! I’d made a great Christmas gift for my father-in-law.

You know honestly, I hesitated to call Jason in the first place because I thought that my little projects were just that – too little. I figured he’d be able to help and probably give me some advice, but I didn’t think he’d have the wood I was looking for not to mention ready for me right then and there!

Turns out that requests like this aren’t unusual for Jason. He told me that he’s asked to help with little projects all the time. He even recently walked me through his showroom (free coffee) where I could’ve picked up a lot of the supplies I needed to finish the wood. I didn’t know he carried any of that stuff.

So, thanks to Jason and City Lumber for helping me make a nice gift for my father-in-law. He loved it and it’s opened a lot of bottles this summer and made the patio a little more comfortable for everyone.

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