To Give Or Not To Give, My Woodworking Magazines Away

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Blog entry by Phil Brown posted 04-27-2007 08:48 AM 952 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The city lights are fading in the distance as I cross the big river, heading back to home port. Its a beautiful evening but I know the rain will come. I think about my workshop and what material I should use to cover the damaged roof with. Shingles or tin. The temporary fix with tarpaper will only hold the rain off for a while. I think about the table refinish job waiting for me tomorrow morning.

I glide along the asphalt ribbon to the foot of the mountain I must climb over to get to the flatland, 100 miles of it, then home. I chuckle as a slower vehicle forces me to pass on the grade. In the old days I would have been furious, downshifting forever, labouring up the incline, stacks belching smoke.

Under this hood lies a fire breathing monster. I caress the go-pedal slightly and bring the turbocharger to a high whine then slip the monster a few spoonfulls of rocket fuel. The beast growls quietly up the mountain, oblivious to the incline. The speedometer needle tickles the posted limit. No downshifting. Glorious.

I breast the summit and look north. My friend the mountain sits there in the waning light, pensive, quiet. I study the outline, a giant gorilla sitting down, with head on chest, thinking, waiting, somber. My friend would dwarf King Kong like the hairy movie star towered over Fay Wray, and Jessica Lange. I leave him sitting there looking down over his subjects, waiting for the rain. And I think, and think and think…

I think the radio has been off for a while. I reach over and twist the volume. It disturbs my peace. I go back to thinking, settling back in the air-ride seat, pointing my road machine into the blackness. And I think.

Then the little voice starts. And the dialogue…

Little voice – you want to talk about your woodworking magazines
Me – ya sure, always gives me pleasure
Little voice – you dont trust me
Me – I think you’re up to something
Little voice – well, do those magazines really give you pleasure. You’re hanging on to them awfully tight
Me – I’ve let other magazines go, lots of ‘em
Little voice – you weren’t hanging on to them as tight as you are to this stack of paper and ink
Me – hey, they’re more than that. Man, they’re full of ideas, and knowledge, tools and jigs, finishes, anecdotes, and so, so much more…paper and ink, ya right
Little voice – your mitts are wrapped so tight around those woodworking magazines they’ll get mouldy from the darkness and lack of air
Me – Ha Ha, look at all the other magazines I let go of, reams of them. Could’ve filled a tractor trailer. Trucking mags, hot rodding, 4×4, hunting, fishing. Remember the bodybuilding magazines, like one hundred, no two hundred and forty magazines and I let them go. Some kid will be Mr America now with all that info
Little voice – precisely
Me – precisely what
Little voice – all that info you could pass on to someone with your wood magazines
Me – whoa
Little voice – just lift one of those fingers up and see how it feels
Me – can’t, they’re too, too precious, too valuable
Little voice – just one, try it, you’ll feel better
Me – okay, but just one
Little voice – see, that didn’t hurt, try another finger
Me – it hurts
Little voice – big chicken
Me – big chicken, I think not. Look at the stack of writing books I have advertised to give away to an aspiring writer. I thought writing was my deepest passion and I’m giving them up
Little voice – I’m going to call you on your deepest passion and it wont be nice
Me – whadya mean
Little voice - you’re hanging on to those woodworking magazines with something that has surpassed passion, and I have to call it by a different name
Me – well, whadya call posting all my motorbikes to give away to some kid to enjoy
Little voice – does the word begrudging mean anything
Me – so, I still want to ride them
Little voice - but you want to ride them more than you want to give them
Me – true, but I’ll let them go regardless, what’s your point
Little voice – you can’t enjoy giving unless you really let go and enjoy the receivers joy
Me – that’s their business
Little voice – really? But wouldn’t you want your joy to be full, something you can’t have when you begrudge a gift. Now back to those woodworking magazines of yours
Me – how about two fingers, will that make you happy
Little voice – its about making someone else happy. Remember the joy you felt perusing those magazines, how the articles leaped off the pages. Don’t you want someone else to feel that, who can’t afford those magazines but woodworking is their passion
Me – ya, ya, alright
Little voice – doesn’t sound alright to me. Hang on to them then, till they get mouldy and useless to read
Me – I don’t feel very good
Little voice - let them go and you will feel good
Me – hard to believe
Little voice - you have choice. They’re yours to do with as you please, but it is better to give than to receive
Me - okay, one more finger. You gonna keep this up till you win
Little voice – I’m not trying to beat you. I’m trying to teach you
Me – teach me what
Little voice – a good master always gives the best to his students. Give the best that you are and the best that you have. Don’t hoard. Give. Share. And it will come back to you tenfold.
Me – this is hard
Little voice - if it was easy you wouldn’t need me
Me - and you are
Little voice – I’m your conscience, turkey
Me – turkey all right. Look what you made me do. That was the last exit for a nature break.
Little voice – Guess you better pull over then, and get out
Me – you ain’t gettin’ out with me
Little voice – you’re stuck with me
Me – if I give those woodworking magazines to someone who needs them will you shut up?
Little voice – for awhile, till you learn all that I can teach you
_Me _
- I’m stepping out now. You watch the truck. And don’t touch anything, ya hear.

-- Phil Brown, Ontario

13 comments so far

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4024 posts in 4057 days

#1 posted 04-27-2007 09:25 AM


You’re a fine woodworker. You are an even better writer. And you are at the top of it all, an even finer gentleman. Thanks for sharing your blog. You even gave me a little bit of a sniffle over this entry.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4154 days

#2 posted 04-27-2007 11:49 AM

don’t you just love the little voice?! Oh the joys of discovering and overcoming a step along the journey. Sometimes I “think” it would be easier not to listen but then I smile. I know better than that.

Oh … geez… now you have MY little voice thinking about my self-awareness books… “curses, Little Voice.. Curses”

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4320 days

#3 posted 04-27-2007 02:06 PM

That’s great… but you need to tell the little voice that every time you buy a new tool, the magazines are all brand new again. I ignored this and that project because I didn’t have a (router, bandsaw,... cordless horizontal boring machine with a remote starter…, but now…!!!

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 4304 days

#4 posted 04-27-2007 02:43 PM

Hang onto your magazines. The more I look at the new magazines and compare them to my old ones, the more they begin to look the same. Same projects, same articles, etc. I’d keep them for reference material. Turn the radio on and the little voice will go away. LOL.

Great story!

-- Jesus is Lord!

View Phil Brown's profile

Phil Brown

219 posts in 4051 days

#5 posted 04-27-2007 03:43 PM

Thanks folks. I tell ya, it’s hard to give up those magazines. There’s really no sense passing them on unless I can really let go. I’m stuck here.

They really are a wealth of information and reading pleasure. Sometimes when I flip through them it feels like the first time, when those passions and creativity burst forth igniting my spirit to make something out of wood.

Even the smallest or simplest project is a delight as the finished product comes to life. The magazines are similar. Even the oldest articles, read many times, pictures viewed a thousand times, pages worn… Here I go again…

-- Phil Brown, Ontario

View Karson's profile


35120 posts in 4394 days

#6 posted 04-27-2007 04:07 PM

There is an index of woodworking magaxines on the web. If you have old magazines it will sometimes help you find things that your remember but were lost to “Where”

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4154 days

#7 posted 04-27-2007 05:39 PM

so why is it that you WANT to pass them on? The little voice is supporting the idea but why was the idea there in the first place??

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Phil Brown's profile

Phil Brown

219 posts in 4051 days

#8 posted 04-27-2007 05:58 PM

Debbie, you said it, and I’m not quite there yet, figuring the whole thing out. The process is difficult. Passing on my hot rodding magazines was funny. I asked for the box back to read through them one more time. Can you believe that. The nerve.

I guess when you’re passionate about something you learn that the full value of the passion is sharing it with others and giving so that they can have what you enjoy. We’ll see what happens.

I have boxes of art magazines too. And lots of those big coffe table art books. I gave my favorite one to a fulltime artist friend for Christmas. Near killed me. I still look for it in the bookcase when I visit, but the feelings are fading. Guess its all part of being human. Paraphrasing Romeo Dallaire(I think I spelled it right-heard this on the radio) -”when does a human stop being human? never.”

-- Phil Brown, Ontario

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4154 days

#9 posted 04-27-2007 06:03 PM

ah so perhaps the Universe is calling—someone out there is in need and you have the support that can help them on their journey. Perhaps you are a keeper of the books so that you can be a book Angel for others!

(hearing my little voice say—See?? You have books that have already read and can be of help to others—- send the books on their way)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View fred's profile


256 posts in 4091 days

#10 posted 04-27-2007 06:15 PM

Phil – you can still write. The first part about driving was wonderful. I thought it was the start of a novel.

Magazines and books on woodworking take up a large portion of my shop. My wife suggested I get them out of the house. So I built a cabinet for them. Pretty soon I will have to build another cabinet.

There are many times when I sit in the workshop and read through the magazines for interesting projects to build. And jigs too!

-- Fred Childs, Pasadena, CA - - - Law of the Workshop: Any tool, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 4079 days

#11 posted 04-27-2007 06:51 PM

I think your little voice is crazy….at least that’s what my little voice is telling me….(what’s that?....No…I won’t ask him if he’ll introduce you to his little voice….what?…….stop it….OK, OK!!) Phil my little voice is threatening to sing 100 bottles of beer on the wall until I ask so please have your little voice call my little voice on his cell.

Give away my magazines and/or books….my solution is to leave them in my will….:0

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4154 days

#12 posted 04-27-2007 07:41 PM

hahaha too funny.

You’d best be careful, Bob.. ‘cause the little voice might have connections with the Spirits of the Wood!! you wouldn’t want to tick them off

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Phil Brown's profile

Phil Brown

219 posts in 4051 days

#13 posted 04-27-2007 08:09 PM

Thanks Fred, Treefarmer, Debbie and all.

Fred if I would keep one woodworking book or magazine it would one dedicated to jigs. I have solved more dilemnas in the workplace(crating shop mostly) and in my shop with jigs from mild to wild. I love jigs. As far as writing, I have a novel, copyrighted, about a woodworker in ancient times, a young king usurped from his throne who wanders the kingdoms of an old world making furniture for royalty. He eventually returns to his kingdom and takes his rightful place. I can blog about it for interest sake.

Treefarmer. The voice wont go away. Whadyado in a case like that. Man, if it starts on my art books at the same time, ‘cause thats all thats left besides the woodworking mags, I’m going to lose it.

Debbie. Johnny Cash gave reference to the black dog and the white dog inside himself and the ensuing clash of wills. The two voices. There’s one thing I know. They dont share.

-- Phil Brown, Ontario

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