Learning from the Masters... #4: When Opportunity Knocks...

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Blog entry by Ethan Sincox posted 04-09-2007 04:06 PM 1245 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Frank Klausz - The best things come in small packages... Part 4 of Learning from the Masters... series no next part

This is the article I submitted for my woodworking guild’s newsletter. It was written with very short notice, but it carries a message I believe in very much, so I thought I’d share it here, as well.

If I look back into my past – ten, fifteen, even twenty years – it isn’t difficult for me to pick out some of the once-in-a-life-time opportunities I’d passed up or missed out on. This was usually because I just didn’t recognize them for what they were, though there were a few times when I’d simply dawdled too long and missed the chance.

I like to think I’ve learned from my mistakes, so when the opportunity to attend the Frank Klausz workshop came my way, I jumped on it. As quickly as I could, I put my deposit down to reserve a spot and then I started setting a little money aside every week for a few weeks until I had enough to cover the rest of the costs.

One week before the workshop, I got a phone call from Bill Hobson, asking me if I wanted to join him and a few others at Bristol’s for dinner with Mr. Klausz. I knew this was another one of those opportunities, but… I had to consult with Mrs. Sincox first. I know Bristol’s is a pretty expensive restaurant, and my wife, Dana, was also going out of town the next morning, so we’d planned on spending a relaxing evening together before her trip. This was not a decision I could make on my own.

When I approached my wife, I think she could see the conflict in my eyes – wife or woodworking? So I told her about the phone call and asked her what she thought. She doesn’t always think she knows me as well as she should, but instances like this prove she does. Her only question for me was, “Is this one of those once-in-a-life-time things?”

Needless to say, dinner with Frank was fantastic! It gave me a great opportunity to visit with a Master Craftsman on a social level before learning from him on a professional level. It is a weekend I will remember as a major milestone in my woodworking experiences.

(I do apologize for not going into any detail on the dinner or workshop. In the course of writing this article, I found out very quickly that it will take much more than a page in a newsletter to cover the entire weekend. For some more in-depth writings on the Frank Klausz weekend, see my blogs online at

-- Ethan,

9 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4130 days

#1 posted 04-09-2007 04:16 PM

it’s a great lesson that we should all take to heart. How often do we kick ourselves because we “knew we should have…”.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Greg3G's profile


815 posts in 4055 days

#2 posted 04-09-2007 05:09 PM

Great Lesson….good plug at the end.

-- Greg - Charles Town, WV

View Karson's profile


35111 posts in 4370 days

#3 posted 04-09-2007 06:33 PM

Great review. Leave them dangling, but force them to put out an effort to go further.

No force feeding there. Great.

-- 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 Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4131 days

#4 posted 04-09-2007 06:42 PM

Glad you were able to take the opportunity Ethan. And great the hear the other half does share your passions and dreams as well.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View WayneC's profile


13753 posts in 4067 days

#5 posted 06-29-2007 06:58 AM

Hey Ethan, you got any more trips to see a master planned? How is the new house coming?

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View David's profile


1969 posts in 4109 days

#6 posted 06-29-2007 07:01 AM

Ethan -

Great story! Your wife sounds very understanding ( I am fortunate to have the same! ).


View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

767 posts in 4144 days

#7 posted 06-29-2007 03:08 PM


Sorry I’ve been a bit inactive here lately. Unfortunately, woodworking sometimes has to take a number and wait in line behind some of the other more necessary situations in life.

My wife and I closed on our new house on April 30th. We didn’t actually move in until the first week of June, however, as we spent every free minute of the month of May tearing out carpet and sealing floors with KILZ and painting walls and ceilings and helping to gut a 1/2 bath and two closets to make room for a 3/4 bath and a main floor laundry. Then I went through the house, tearing off the chair moulding some schmuck used as trim around some french doors and replacing it with 3 1/4” trim to match the rest of the trim in the house.


We’re finally moved in, but far from settled. Unfortunately, we didn’t get everything painted like we wanted, so now we have to (more carefully) go back in and paint some closets and ceilings we couldn’t logistically work into doing that first month.

Our plans to replace all of the fixtures with new fans and lights and hang curtains and blinds on every window have been set back by the small problem of our heat pump hosting a tournament to see who can release the most freon into the air over a one-month period.

(Our heat pump won with a whopping 3 1/2 lbs worth! She then announced her eminent retirement and was replaced two days later by a younger, healthier model.)

Unfortunately, this also digs deeply into the pockets that were saving up money to build a workshop in a 14’ x 36’ part of the basement I’d “claimed” as my own. Right now I don’t have the $$ for studs and drywall, much less the dust collection equipment absolutely necessary in a basement shop.

I’m not complaining. We are living in a great house in a fabulous neighborhood with awesome neighbors (who are almost all much older than us and mostly retired – I’m sure they were worried that we’d be these big partiers, keeping everyone up all night. We do prefer the quiet life, though.) I’m quite happy with the path we’ve chosen, even if it does remove me from woodworking for a while.

I’ll try to hope onto LJ a little more often and maintain some sort of activity until I actually do get the time to get the woodworking up and running again.

-- Ethan,

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4130 days

#8 posted 06-29-2007 05:53 PM

I was wondering where you’ve been.

And now, the big question: have you been documenting the process??? Before and after pix of the french door would be lovely :) If you forgot to take a pix, you could just switch the trim back, take a pix, and then re-do the renovations :)

I’m glad to hear that things are going well (other than the heat pump) and the you are in a beautiful neighbourhood… and are happy! Congrats.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4131 days

#9 posted 06-29-2007 07:06 PM

Nice to hear from you again Ethan. Glad to hear you got moved in, but sorry about the trials. Ahh the joys of home ownership.

We are looking forward to your projects once you resume. Good luck with the renovations.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

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