Thursday, July 29, 2010

Military flag case

My dad was great guy. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of him in some way - whether it's reminiscing about a good time we'd shared, or remembering when we butted heads about something silly. He taught me a lot of things, like how to golf, or how to invest in the stock market, and or how not to do woodworking.

One of the last things we did together was hang a big picture window in a room I was remodeling.

When he accidentally stuck his hands in the caulk, and then got handprints all over the glass, we looked like a couple of maniacs, arguing over what a mess he had made on the window.

Six months later, he passed away.

I never could bring myself to clean his handprints off of that window. I just couldn't. Jimmy and I were very much alike, even though I never wanted to admit it when I was younger. (Everyone called him Jimmy, including me.)

This past Memorial day, when most people were off picnicking and enjoying the start of summer, I was starting a commission in my studio. A very sweet couple had stopped by a few weeks earlier, and spoken to me about building a military flag box for the family of an old Navy friend of theirs who had passed away.

Since my dad was in the Navy; I took more than a personal interest in this project. Here's Jimmy in one of the only pictures I have of him in uniform.

Before I started building the flag case, I called the widow, and spoke with her several times, discussing it's design and some various details. I'd never built a flag case before, so I hopped on the computer and did the research.

Did you know there are two types of flags - mission flags and casket flags? When I learned about the different sizes, I made a call to the frame shop at the local air force base and got the precise dimensions for each folded flag. The angles are a little tricky, but once I got the saw set up, cutting the parts was relatively easy. The Wixey digital cube really helps out in setting the sawblade to precise angles.

Here is a picture of the case I recently finished, ironically, just after the Fourth of July. Taking a picture of it was a little difficult, as the front kept reflecting things in the glass. So even though the image is a little grainy, I think it shows the love that I put into building this. It's a fitting tribute for such a fine man.

Here is another a fitting tribute for such a fine man - my dad.

My mom commissioned this bronze sculpture from a local artist - a man and a woman in a perpetual circle of love. What a lovely piece to mount on top of their mausoleum.

If this blogpost sounds somber, I don't mean it to be. I feel very fortunate to have had the chance to build this flag case for the family. Honored, in fact. Now I'm going to start a case for Jimmy's flag.

I may even put my handprint on the glass for him.

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