I posted this blog on my web site www.TheBenchDawg.com and thought I would share it with my fellow Lumber Jocks.
A good friend called last night and suggested I write a blog about an article that I wrote in 1993 for the Mid-Michigan Woodworkers Guild.
When I was young I was taught how to tell time. I thought that this task was quite simple, but I find even today I have trouble telling time. Actually it’s not telling time that’s the problem, but it’s telling the time that it takes to do something in the shop.
For some time now I have been engaged in the pastime known as woodworking. I have a small shop where I build custom cabinets and furniture in my spare time. My shop time is precious; you see, I have a full time job and a family to care for. Two boys who play sports and some special time with my wife makes for very little time in my shop. I am not complaining; I would not have it any other way.
When I am working away, the time seems to fly by. A simple task that appears to take fifteen minutes is completed three hours later and it seems almost like a blink of an eye. Now here is where I get into trouble, one of my sons sticks his head into the shop and over the hum of the table saw,” Mom says dinner is in fifteen minutes.” Dinner? I could swear that we just finished lunch! Well, fifteen minutes is quite a long time, I’ll just finish ripping these last few boards and set up for the next step. I remember to look at the clock after a few minutes have passed. I am not sure what time it was so I guess. Now, keeping a close eye on the clock, I finish the last few boards and set up for the next task. I brush off the sawdust , take off my shoes and rush to the dinner table where everyone is seated. When I sit down it occurs to me that I may be a little late. The dog rolling his eyes is a dead give away.
I start my explanation knowing that it is without hope. My wife smiles and asks if everything is going well in my shop. Trying not to look guilty I respond “It’s going real well” I look up at the clock and see that I am only fifteen minutes late, but dinner is hot…hmmm….my first thought is how can dinner still be hot? As I look over the table I see that no one has started to eat, could it be that dinner is fifteen minutes late or could I actually be on time? (Little chance of that happening)
As we talk over dinner, getting the latest on school assignments or hearing of the snake caught after school, I forget the stack of lumber in the shop for the time being, and try to sort out the rest of the week’s schedule of basketball games and meetings or whatever is written on the calendar for that week.
Soon my thoughts turn to my shop and I have a little trouble concentrating on the topic at hand. It’s time to get back to my second love…I married my first.
The sander buzzing along; the clock picks up speed. As I finish the sanding, I notice it’s getting late. There’s plenty of work left for another day. I stop and survey the shop: the tools resting, the pile of sawdust on the floor and the partly finished projects…what the heck I think I’ll work for just fifteen minutes more.
This was written, as noted above, in 1993. Lots has changed since then but thought I would honor my friend’s request and share this once again.
-- Keith, Charlotte, MI www.julyswoodworks.com