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Merry finally talked me into converting that old crate we aquired from behind the dumpster last year into a coffee table.  I turned the lid upside-down, sanded it like crazy, put on 2-3 coats of combination stain/urethane (the darkest mahogany I could find), and hinges.  The chains to hold it open without overswinging was Merry’s idea for a final touch.  She says it would cost $500 if we had bought something similar from Pier1 Imports.