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Life can be fun -- if you don't take it too seriously . . .
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Posted by: Russ Walden

01/11/2020, 10:18:17

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I'm building a desk for a close friend. Actually, it's built and I am now finishing it. Said friend wanted desk to emulate the Chinese style of using red undertones. Teak with red undertones is kinda pretty.

Need stain -- not paint -- so the grain pattern will show. So, off to local paint store where I know they mix wood stains. Young man, probably in mid 20s, offered to help me. Told him I wanted some red wood stain. He studies the color chart for stain.

Him - "We don't have red stain."
Me - "Yeah, I know, but thought you can mix some for me."
Him - "Let me look on the computer."

[I already know this is a waste of time, 'cuz if it ain't on their color chart, it ain't on the computer.]

Him - "There's nothing on the computer for red stain."
Me - "I expected that, but you do have red pigment, don't you?"
Him - "Yes, but we don't have a formula for red stain."
Me - (pointing at color chart) - "Do you have this Wild Berry color in quart cans?"
Him - "No, we have to mix it."
Me - "Tell me how you do that." [He went back to the computer]
Him - "I take a quart of Natural base, add magenta and red pigment, then mix it."

[At this point, scenes from an old movie are playing in the back of my mind. I think it was "Five Easy Pieces" with Jack Nicholson.]

Me - "If I want the Wild Berry, but it's not quite red enough, what do you do?"
Him - "I add more red."
Me (watching the movie and smiling to myself) - "Ok, I want a quart of the Wild Berry, but leave out the magenta and add more red."
Him - "I don't know if I'm supposed to do that."
Me - "I won't tell if you don't."

He looks around and under the shelves, goes to the back room, returns and announces,

Him - "We don't have any quarts of Natural base, we're out of stock and won't have any until next week."
Me - "Here's a gallon of Natural base. How about I buy the whole gallon and you just mix me a quart of Wild Berry -- without the magenta and add more red?"
Him - "I don't know if I'm supposed to do that?"
Me - "Do what?"
Him - "Just be pouring stuff into cans like that."
Me - "Do you sell empty paint cans?"
Him - "Yes."
Me - "Why?"
Him - "I guess for pouring paint into."
Me - "Right! Now take this gallon of Natural base, make me a quart of Wild Berry without magenta (and add more red), and sell me three empty quart cans as well."

[I use a lot of wood stain, so figure I can use the Natural base later for something else. He goes off to the back room. Meanwhle, I'm feeling smug and watching a re-run of "Five Easy Pieces" in the back of my mind.]

After a while, he returns carrying a one gallon can by its handle and three empty quart cans under his arm. "Why only three?," I wonder to myself. The answer is apparent. There are red stains on the outside of the gallon can.

Proudly, he pops the lid off the gallon can and asks,
"How's that look?"

Me - "Looks like red stain. How much do I owe you?

About $25 later, I'm home in my shop with a lifetime supply of red stain and three empty cans. Somehow, it just wasn't worth trying to explain to him why I no longer needed the cans. I can use them, anyway; sometimes I mix my own stains.

Can I get an order of wheat toast, to go?



Modified by Russ Walden at Sat, Jan 11, 2020, 10:25:06

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