Modern and ancient wisdom suggest that eating when you’re stressed or distracted is deleterious to digestion. In today’s busy households, dinner is often anything but calm and focused, and the problem is exacerbated when mealtime begins with a discordant yell meant to round up everyone from all corners of the house. Instead, strike a gong, which invokes ceremony, instills harmony, awakens the mind, and calls people forth to the ritual that nourishes them. Set the table, yes, but more importantly, set the tone.
1. The gong stand’s “legs” are 1/2- by 3-inch salvaged boards cut 12 inches long. Using a jigsaw, cut a 11/2-inch-square hole centered about 11/2 inches from the end.
2. Use chopsticks for the “pins” that fasten the pieces of the stand together. Cut the sharp tips off the chopsticks and use 21/4 inches of the tapered section for the joint at the base. Cut the top section 23/4 inches long and round the tips with sandpaper.
3. For the crosspiece, cut a salvaged 2-by-2 board 18 inches long with a 45-degree angle at each end. Then drill a 3/8-inch hole 5 inches from each end. Slide the legs onto the crosspiece through the square holes and stand it up.
4. The top pin will enter the drilled hole in the crosspiece from the outside of the leg and exit through the inside, pinning the structure together. You may need to enlarge the underside of the hole for the pin to get through; a hammer tap might help.
5. The base is a salvaged board, wider than the legs, cut 21 inches long. Set the stand on the base and mark the outside of the legs for a 3/16-inch hole. Tap in the bottom pin, which will keep the stand’s legs from spreading outward.
6. A rat-tail file makes a notch where the wooden spoon striker sits atop the gong. The pan lid or tile blade can be suspended on a leather or nylon lace.