Sunday, December 4, 2011

Gratitude


For a long while now, I’ve been thinking about all the people, and things, that have helped me on this hand tool woodworking journey I’m taking. What better time to express my thanks than Thanksgiving (or a week or two after Thanksgiving…). So here goes (and please forgive me, but there is no way I can cover it all – this is just the tip of the very large, and growing, iceberg).

My Father

When I was a kid, Dad followed his dream and opened “Jim Klauder & Son’s Country Hardware” and I used to “work” there all the time. I think he told me that he was the President and I was the Treasurer or maybe it was the Secretary. Whatever it was, I was in. I know my love of tools was fostered in that store. Dad also bought a load of old woodworking tools when we were at a Bus Mars* auction up in Vermont. He used them to decorate the walls of the store. Most of those tools were sold when we closed the store after Dad died, but I do have a few out in my shop. Thank You Dad.

*You can count yourself truly blessed if you ever got to see, and hear, Bus Mars in person – he was the best auctioneer that ever lived. The story goes that one time his helpers replaced the next item up for bid with some rocks from the ground outside – just to try to throw the old man off. Without missing a beat, Bus sold them for $20. That’s the story. I saw him. I believe it. Thanks for that too, Dad.

My Brother Jim

Jim is a great carpenter, and I learned a ton by working with him off and on over the years. He taught me: details matter, work hard and be honest, there are no mistakes that can’t be fixed (and you have to fix them), respect your tools, and always clean up when you are done working for the day. Thank You Jim.

My Brother Josh

Josh is responsible for me moving to Alaska, and he promptly put a drawknife in my hand, with which I promptly cut myself. Sometimes that’s how you learn; I’ve never done it since. Josh is also a firm believer and practitioner of the “follow your dream” philosophy, and always comes through with geek support when I need it. Thank You Josh.

Roy Underhill


In October of 2003 I got to spend two days listening to Roy talk about woodworking (and everything else – the guy is amazing). I had recently finished filling my garage shop with all the power tools I could find: band saw, table saw, drill press, router table, jointer, planer, oscillating spindle sander, etc. I did have some hand tools – mostly a couple of planes (see below), but I was at least 80% power oriented. As I sat in that room, and listened to Roy’s philosophy about working with only human powered hand tools, it just resonated with me. It was like waking up from a deep sleep – and asking “What am I doing? And why?” Less than one year later, all the power tools were gone from my shop and I was loving it! So, for teaching me to “Just say no to power tools!”, for your wonderful “Woodwright’s Shop” television program, your fabulous books and for setting me on the road less traveled – Thank You Roy.

Wayne Miller & Badger Pond

I came late to The Pond, only about a year before it shut down, but I spent a lot, a lot, of time lurking there. I don’t think I ever posted (partly too shy, mostly too ignorant) but I swam daily in the shared knowledge of others on the boards. At first it was power tool stuff, but I wandered into Neanderthal territory too. I learned how to fettle a plane there, and thanks to Scary Sharp posts, I learned how to sharpen. One of the things I appreciated most was the safe, positive atmosphere Wayne maintained (“Benevolent Dictator” indeed) at The Pond. For a short while, at a critical time on my woodworking journey, Badger Pond was my main source of learning. Thank You Wayne, and all the Ponders.

Kari Hultman - The Village Carpenter

Kari’s blog was, and is, inspirational. She was always positive and supportive, and that meant a lot to me when I was just getting this blog up and running. Perhaps you’ve noticed that The Village Carpenter link on my blog roll is out of alphabetical order – there’s a reason for that – just a tiny tip of the hat. Thank You Kari.

Bob and Dave Key

Back when I was setting up shop, I knew I needed a workbench, but didn’t know how to go about it. I started reading, in books and on web, and started planning and dreaming and my bench ideas got bigger and bigger, and more and more complex and more and more intimidating. I was just about overwhelmed, when I discovered “Bob and Dave’s Good, Fast and Cheap Bench” web page. What a revelation. I read it and I did it, and although it is far from perfect, I’m still using it and it makes me happy every day. Unfortunately, the full site is gone, but if you do a bit of searching on Google, you can find a link to the bench article that has been preserved (as it should be). For helping me cut through the bewildering amount of information and follow the “keep it simple” path to a perfectly fine workbench – Thank You Bob and Dave.

This Plane


The first plane that I owned that worked. There aren’t a lot of sources up here in Alaska. I was reading about planes on Badger Pond and knew I wanted to use them. I tried Sears – fail! What a hunk of junk that plane was – took it back the next day. I finally found this baby at a “perma-yardsale” site out on the highway. To quote the Boss, “You ain't a beauty, but hey you're alright ...” and it worked; shavings! Oh the joy! More! More! Thank You “Westlake, by Stanley” jack plane.

Celena

And finally, to the person I am most thankful for, my unbelievably wonderful wife, Celena. She is incredibly patient and supportive – from waiting while I run into countless junk/antique stores because “they look like they might have old tools”, to “I’ll be in just as soon as I finish this next part.”, to waiting months and months (years?) for me to finish projects I promised in weeks (the bed, the floor, the deck, the roof, the kitchen, the wood stove fence and many, many more). For this and so much more – Thank You Celena.

3 comments:

  1. Aww (or better yet, Awl), thanks Dan, and you're welcome.

    Bus Mars! Nothing stopped him. I remember his sing-song "YesIWould,YesIWould,YesIWouldIfIWereYou"

    And the time down in East Dorset or North Pawlet, or wherever it was, the tiny little building was crowded beyond capacity, people milling around outside. Bus was in fine form, selling a mile a minute. As each item was sold, he would say "Sold" as auctioneers always do, then add the location of the bidder so his assistants knew where it went. "Sold, to the man in red down front." "Sold, to the lady in the back left corner."

    One item kept going back and forth between a bidder up front and somebody towards the back that nobody seemed to be able to see, no matter how they craned their necks and looked around. Was he faking?

    Higher and higher he took that bidder in front(YesIWould, YesIWould) Finally they hung.

    "Going once..." "Going twice..." "SOLD..out the window."

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  2. Dan, thank you for including me in your blog post. You made my day. :o)

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  3. Josh - You're welcome! I remeber that story too! I think I may even have been there, but maybe I just heard it told so many times that I just think that.

    I'd like to be able to go back and bid on some of those tools - Vermont's fairly picked over these days...

    Kari - You are welcome! I'm glad it made your day!

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