Woodworking without power tools...

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Blog entry by Ethan Sincox posted 01-15-2007 09:29 PM 2405 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

... or lights or heat or a sump pump – that’s not really how far back I’d like to take my traditional woodworking experiences, to be honest with you. I have a hard enough time removing power tools from the equation. I’m afraid I’m quite used to some of today’s modern conveniences.

So for the past few days, while Mother Nature once again proved her superiority, I’ve been worrying more about whether or not my basement is going to flood and if my pipes will freeze and less about what design I’m going to use when I build my tool chest.

Give me a furnace or a ceramic space heater any day of the week this time of the year! Heck, I’ll even take the subtle warmth of my 500 watt overhead halogen lights at this point!

Fortunately, I just got word from my wife that our power is back on. She went home on her lunch break to see if the rumors were true. The furnace is now blowing hot air, the water heater is gearing up for Dana’s two-hour bath tonight, and the cats have probably already terminated their temporary “huddle for warmth” alliance.

It’s amazing what we take for granted these days… In fact, I’m getting ready to take advantage of yet another medical and technological feat. On Thursday, I go in to get LASIK eye surgery.

But I’ll do my best to not take this for granted. I’ve already talked with several people who’ve had the surgery, and they all mentioned the same thing – that we become reliant upon our prescription glasses to protect our eyes and after that surgery I’ll have to be much more aware of such dangers.

As far as woodworking goes, I’m already looking into new eye protection for the shop. I’ve decided to go with some close-fitting, fully-sealed safety glasses. Actually, I’ll probably go with two pairs of them – one pair with air vents for normal woodworking and one pair with absolutely no venting for my amonia fuming and use of any other hazardous chemicals or finishes. I’m absolutely thrilled to be able to spend money on such things!

Come to think of it, though, I’m just thrilled to be able to focus more on woodworking and less on bailing out my sump.

Oh, bother… I just realized my DVR wasn’t able to record the three Wood Works shows on DIY this last Saturday because my power was out! Oh, the HuMANITY!

Tragic… simply tragic.

-- Ethan,

7 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4156 days

#1 posted 01-16-2007 12:04 AM

tragic indeed.
I heard an interview a long time ago about what the greatest invention was. My mind wandered through a list of my favourite technological wonders and then I heard the “punchline” (the response of the person’s grandmother) . Her #1 invention: running water.

We do take things for granted and that is sad as well as scary. Heat in the winter is vital; fresh water to drink is vital; food to eat is vital; wood to carve is… well, you know.

Good luck with your eye surgery and your new safety strategies

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 4172 days

#2 posted 01-16-2007 12:25 AM

Yes, Ethan/Debbie, give a thought for us here in the south-east corner of Australia – ten years into a drought.

When I first arrived in Australia, I was struck by the wonderful green almost semi-tropical country-side. Today, it’s parched brown and dusty. The water reservoirs, once full to the brim are now down to a frighteningly low level – or completely dried up. We are on severe water restrictions – no watering lawns, washing cars, filling pools, etc. And the government is telling us to be prepared for even more draconian measures in the near future.

As you state, Ethan, it’s so easy to take things for granted.

Then I remember – by much of the world’s standards, even with our severe water shortage, we have more and cleaner water than much of the world’s population.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4309 days

#3 posted 01-16-2007 12:55 AM

Just how lucky we are!

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4294 days

#4 posted 01-16-2007 01:16 PM

We’ve had it pretty dry in this area lately, but things are still green.
The facts are that not one drop of water flows into Minnesota. It all comes from the sky. I live about 3 miles away from the three way continental divide. Water flows North toward Hudson Bay, East toward Lake Superior, & South toward the Mississippi River. It’s hard to believe that it all starts right here.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 4401 days

#5 posted 01-17-2007 04:23 PM

what an upleasant experience. We have a small generator that I wire up to the house that keeps us warm, with water, and food cold. If we are careful we can use the microwave, and watch tv also. I can’t work in the shop though.

We lost power for 4.5 days 2 years ago in a cold January ice storm, and it was like camping at home, which was fun. However, I’m glad that someone had the vision to use tax payer money to support the Rural Electric grid many years ago. Now, if only a visionary would hit Washington that could get us high speed internet, I could kick this slow dial-up to the curb. We can get satellite internet, but the cost is too high for us.

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4294 days

#6 posted 01-17-2007 04:35 PM

Mark. I was reading once that someone was working on using the power lines for broadband. I haven’t checked on it lately. I wonder if it will ever come to a reality. It would sure help people in your situation.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

767 posts in 4169 days

#7 posted 01-17-2007 05:57 PM

Fortunately, the power kicked on before these single-digit temperatures rolled in, Mark. (You probably saw them a few hours before me, eh?) It took about 12 hours for the furnace to kick the heat up to 70, though.

Funny how you take so many things for granted until they’re gone. It’s also funny how poorly you can find yourself prepared for an emergency. That’s something I’m going to get fixed right quick.

And my wife and I already had the discussion about spending the additional $4000 to have a generator wired into our electrical system if we end up building our own house on some of the farmland bordering my brother’s farm.

I still feel for the people who have been out the past two days, though, with the temperature 20 degrees lower than it already was!

It was also a great feeling to see how many offers of support (food and a place to sleep and bathe) came in from friends and family and congregation members.

-- Ethan,

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