Deep Thoughts - Reader Beware #7: Sentimental Joinery - sappy over wood

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Blog entry by Sandra posted 07-19-2013 01:26 AM 1568 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: Online friendship Part 7 of Deep Thoughts - Reader Beware series Part 8: Dead wood »

First, the caveat:

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about woodworking, trying to make sense of what it is that has always drawn me to it. I’m notorious for over-thinking, overanalyzing and basically spending too much energy navel-gazing. This blog is intended to get some of it out of my head. I’ll be glib, sarcastic and flippant in my other posts. Who knows how this one will turn out. It may be a train wreck, so reader beware! If navel-gazing doesn’t hold any appeal or distraction for you, move on. If you’re allergic to estrogen, move away quickly.

My own personal rules are to not to spend more than 30 minutes on any one post. I can correct a mistake if I catch it right away, but can’t go back. If I post it, I can’t edit or delete. I tend to edit things to death and have been known to delete my posts before it’s too late.

If anything resonates with you, feel free to chime in.


My husband and I differ greatly when it comes to the keep/throw out issue. Personally, I can’t stand clutter and I see no need to keep many of the things that my husband refuses to throw out. Over the past two decades, we’ve learned to compromise. I’ve loosened up a bit, and he’s thrilled with the reno that finally happened after he culled much of his ‘stuff’ from the basement. In my mind, there is no emotional significance attached to a sweatshirt that no longer fits, EVEN if it was bought at the Calgary Stampede. But he obviously doesn’t have the same logic. Neither is right or wrong, but I still try very hard to keep as much stuff leaving the house as is coming in. Prior to Christmas is a dangerous time to leave anything laying around our house.

So this evening, I wandered out into the shop and eyed my lumber rack and scrap cart. My friend had given me some pieces of mahogany and I wanted to get them up out of the way. Also, it’s starting to look (dare I say it) cluttered. Considering I’ve had the lumber rack less than a year , it’s quite full. As I picked up pieces and rearranged, I was genuinely surprised at what was going through my mind.

On the main rack, there are the messed up birch stretchers that had been intended for my workbench. I stood there looking at the tenons, remembering how pleased I was with them and how ticked off I was when I realized that I had mis measured the width. Then there are the pieces of rough lumber that have yet to hit the planer. I bought most of those from a guy settling his grandfather’s estate. Also, there are pieces of hard maple leftover from my benchtop. I bought those in Sussex from a real estate guy. We had a great chat and he ended up selling me the maple for $1.50 bf. Maybe I should make a cutting board for him and his wife. And so it went. I finally got the mahogany boards up on the rack. The only thing that got taken down was a beat up 2×4. It’s pine. Enough said.

The smaller rack above my counter holds the rough lumber I bought from another guy who was settling an estate. It’s a shame really, how little he knew about wood;) Someone had bundled and labeled the boards, probably the person who passed away. Whoever he was knew how to treat lumber!

Then I started rooting through the scrap bin which is also quite full. Well, ‘scrap’ is a pretty strong word. I have many pieces of hardwood bought at local specialty lumber shop that sells their ‘shorts’ for half price.
The pieces of walnut and hickory are leftover from my first two cutting boards. I love working with walnut, and the hickory has a really nice grain. There are several rough cherry boards which have yet to declare their destiny. Among the species of wood, I even have favourites now. Only another lumberjock would consider that normal. And the plywood pieces in the back of the cart? Well, we all know how expensive and IMPORTANT plywood is. The section of dowels and melamine have mentally been made into many jigs already so without a doubt, they stay.

So while I did tidy up, I did not set anything aside for the bonfire pit. I did however, take a nice little mental journey through the projects I’ve done in the past year and it was quite enjoyable. Perhaps I’ve gained insight as to why my husband won’t part with things. If this is how he feels when he sorts through old boarding passes, then maybe I ‘get it’ now, but only a bit. Will I share this epiphany with my spouse? Absolutely not. I don’t want any more of his stuff taking up room that could be used to store more wood.

Went well over my mandated 30 minutes of writing. But this is wood we’re talking about, right? Can I hear an amen?

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

10 comments so far

View DIYaholic's profile


19618 posts in 2669 days

#1 posted 07-19-2013 01:36 AM


I too have a soft spot (not including the one on my cranium) for memory ladened clothes. I have concert shirts that are 20 years old and since they still fit….

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2069 days

#2 posted 07-19-2013 01:44 AM

This may explain why you’re single. Just sayin’

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View Handtooler's profile


1553 posts in 2126 days

#3 posted 07-19-2013 01:46 AM

Here, here! on the not parting with prized wood off cuts and rough lumber not yet dedicated or planed. I’ve certainly got ample.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343

View DamnYankee's profile


3301 posts in 2556 days

#4 posted 07-19-2013 02:39 AM

Sandra – if you ever get into pens or intarsia you will discover there is no such thing as a too small piece of wood to keep

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2837 days

#5 posted 07-19-2013 03:07 AM

You better watch it. You’re walking a fine line with your wood working if your husband hangs onto things like old sweat shirts.
Let me explain. My wife and I are just like you and your husband, only in reverse. When it comes to the house, I want as little as possible and everything has a place. My wife has “catch-alls” that piles up with stuff that I have no idea how or why she hangs onto. Those “objects” though, always “mean something” to her and it is a mortal sin to talk of getting rid of them.
Then that line was drawn when I got into wood work and started quickly filling up a shop that is so huge I originally had no idea how I would use so much space. Now, if I mention getting rid of clutter at the house, my wife threatens to help “clean” my shop.
So, she keeps her clutter at the house. I keep my clutter at the shop. And I refuse to throw away one inch square pieces of certain species of woods. I will make pens out of it somehow, someday.


View Monte Pittman's profile (online now)

Monte Pittman

29218 posts in 2332 days

#6 posted 07-19-2013 05:41 AM

As always, extremely well stated. You do very well at stating what a lot of others (mainly men) can’t.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3238 posts in 3707 days

#7 posted 07-19-2013 06:19 AM


We have a similar problem here but, unfortunately, the clutter in the house and in the shop are both mine! I’m getting better at making kindling . . . and parting with it for my husband’s fire starters. But even after I’ve tossed it into the bag but before I carry it into the house to start a fire, I find myself digging through those bags to find just the right piece for a jig or something else. I just finished a small countertop from pieces that most woodworkers would toss. It looks really great from the top so when my husband turned it over, he was surprised by the obvious fact that it was scrap.

My keepsakes are generally related to wood: e.g., old furniture that some day I’ll refinish or reupholster, but just haven’t found the time. As for old sweatshirts, I don’t save them for sentimental reasons; I save them to wear in the shop when I stain and varnish. Even after they look pretty ratty, I have a hard time parting with them. I’m still wearing clothes that are more than 40 years old!! Why waste money on clothes when you can spend it on tools!


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View StumpyNubs's profile


7588 posts in 2795 days

#8 posted 07-19-2013 12:24 PM

Another great blog!

I save every tiny wood scrap. I figure someday I’ll use them to make a great line of furniture for smurfs.

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3079 days

#9 posted 07-19-2013 01:46 PM

I am putting a new electric service in my shop and have discovered I have way to much stuff, and I am going to have to organize & discard so i can move through the the shop & still park my pickup in there this winter. But our 5 year old cat we got from the shelter a year ago finally decided I needed a lap warmer, so I guess I will enjoy LJ for a bit longer this morning. Princess is purring nicely, may decide she likes her new home.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2069 days

#10 posted 07-19-2013 07:45 PM

Don’t get rid of the cat!!

William, you hit the nail on the head. That’s exactly one of my concerns!

Thanks for all the comments gents.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

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