on saturday afternoon, ward came into the shop late after having gone up to sonoma to sell this year's crop of viognier from his vines. he had with him a large box of produce fresh from his garden: several large green tomatoes, a host of small, orange cherry tomatoes, a curiously-shaped japanese cucumber, three zucchini with the remnants of their flowers still hanging on to the ends, and a bunch of japanese eggplant. i cast covetous glances in their general direction all afternoon as i filled numerous infinitesimal cracks in the top slab with casting resin. this stuff is thin and fluid to begin with and then, in a exothermic reaction, sets to a rigid, water-clear solid. the approved technique is to build small dams with tape around the areas to be filled, then to pour the resin in until it stands clear of the surface; the plan being to grind down the excess so that the resin eventually becomes flush with the wood surface being filled. after building dams around about 15 tiny nail holes, i threw up my hands in disgust and decided not to dam and fill the longitudinal seams that had opened up in one of the four panels. users of regular two-part resin are able to modify the ratio of hardener to resin and thus control, to some extent, the viscosity and cure speed of the mix. my Cast'nCraft 1:1 resin (low odor, minimal risk of death by brain damage) afforded me no such facility -- in fact, printed in bold on the accompanying sheet was this directive: "Don't even THINK about changing the 1:1 ratio of resin to hardener. This is a common cause of cloudy and sticky moldings which must unfortunately be discarded, being beyond salvation."

there were also some complicated instructions about two step stirring; at the end of it, i had a cup of warm and watery mix which, upon application, immediately snuck under the tape, breaching all my dams insidiously. after seeing multiple pools of resin sink and vanish into widening circles of darkened wood (like spring pools), i decided to throw caution to the winds and pour the resin directly into the long and multitudinous seams i'd earlier abandoned. these tiny cracks absorbed startling quantities of resin, sucking them in by capillary action the same way water gets into rock seams and splits them apart with ice. next week we shall see the fruits of such recklessness. and speaking of fruit: when, at the end of the day, i went to the produce box, lo! had not some cunning individual already denuded it of cherry tomatoes, and left only the eggplant and the unloved zucchini behind.