Have you ever installed a tablesaw blade backward? Did you then try to use it? Where you certain that the blade was just dull? Do you kind of like the smell of lacquer? If you could build a car out of wood, would you? When you hear the word “Stickley”, do you — just for a moment — think “sticky”? Would Greene and Green have become famous if their last name was Henderson?
Does Arts and Crafts style ever involve crayons, construction paper or paste? Have you ever tasted glue? Would you admit it? Does the scent of fresh-cut lumber invoke nostalgia in you? Do you think Norm Abram secretly uses duct tape? Can you tell how old someone is because they use the word varnish? Does the term “butt joint” make you giggle? Have you ever given someone a gift you made just because it wasn’t very good and you wanted to get rid of it? Have you ever accidentally drooled on a board as you were running it through a router? Does wondering how long to sand cause you a little anxiety?
What’s your tolerance? 1/16”? 1/32”? Can you add fractions in your head? Have you ever really had a need to divide fractions? Would you know how? Do you have a love-hate relationship with the metric system? If I asked you to cut a board about 100 millimeters long, would you be able to? If a wrench isn’t handy, do you use pliers? Do adjustable wrenches annoy you as they do me? When you complete a project, do you marvel at it? When is the last time you used the word marvel?
Is it truly possible to make a perfect 45 degree miter? Do you drink coffee in your shop? Have you ever spilled coffee in your shop? Have you ever spilled coffee on a workpiece? Is the ability to hand cut dovetails the ultimate measure of a man? Does that little play on the catch end of a tape measure cause you concern? Have you ever used the word sawyer without preceding it with Tom? If drill is a verb and a noun, why isn’t rout? Will you purchase a new rout this year? When a power tool dies, do you think — if just for a moment — that you might be able to to fix it?
Is there one person you know personally who sharpens drill bits? Is that a sane endeavor? Have you given consideration to buying a “DualSaw” because it looks amazing on the infomercials? Do you get a sense of power when you use a SawzAll? Do you call a SawzAll a reciprocating saw? Is it the only saw whose main purpose is destruction? Can I describe oak as crumbly? Are you troubled by bandsaw tensioning? If you read about a certain woodworking technique, does that technically mean you know how to do it? Why is there very little sawdust in woodworking magazine photos? Do you like using those flat carpenter pencils, or does the idea of sharpening them just seem pointless? Do you chuckle to yourself when you make a completely unintentional pun but don’t realize it until much later, as I did in that previous sentence? Have you ever injured yourself and then dripped blood on a workpiece because you were too lazy to go and get a BandAid?
Do you sometimes use a screwdriver as a chisel? Why do they still make slotted screws? Are there people who simply refuse to use Phillips screws? Can you make something cool with a single chunk of 2×4? Even when you know a bit of sandpaper is used up, do you find yourself saving it? Is pointing out flaws in your projects a good idea, a bad idea, or a sign of insecurity? How big a role does luck play in your woodworking? Can you imagine woodworking in zero gravity? Would you use, say, a laser saw that made perfect cuts every time? Does cutting miters make you cringe? Would you consider building a project with nothing but hand tools? If you did use hand tools but didn’t tell anybody, would they be less impressed by the finished piece?
Are you as amazed as I am at wood glue? Do you have any idea how it works? Do you care? Do you have a chair or a T.V. in your shop? Do you have a bandsaw in your living room? Does it seem odd when someone uses the past participle of saw: sawn? For that matter, when you see the word sewer, do you first think of a plumber or a seamstress?
Have you seen electron microscope pictures of dull blade edges? Do they scare you? Have you ever looked at a carving and tried to imagine what it once looked like as a block of wood? Must I assemble things, or can I just put them together? Why does my ShopVac always find a screw it just can’t swallow, so it keeps rattling around inside the hose? Do you ever vacuum up perfectly good screws rather than bend over and pick them up — just because it’s easier?
Did you know that the Spanish word for table saw is mesa saw? Does it matter that I just made that up? Does music help you work? What kind of music? Do you eat in your shop? Have you ever eaten a sandwich with grimy hands and got black gunk on the bread but went ahead and ate it anyway?
Why am I sometimes surprised when I complete a project? Do you sometimes need to clarify what “finishing a project” means? When will someone design a better paint can lid? Are you ever going to use all those cut-off scraps of wood? Why is it that some woodworkers look like woodworkers and others don’t? Have you ever used a folding ruler? Do you even know what that is?
How often do you think about cutting off a finger? Have you thought it through far enough to consider what you would do if you did? Is safety first, second or third? What is the trick for removing a tiny sliver? Can you imagine a world in which The Home Depot is fuchsia instead of orange? Isn’t the lathe a marvelous invention?
Is it ever really worth working on a Tuesday? Have you ever done anything great on a Tuesday? Do you have any formal training? If so, did you wear a tuxedo?
Do you use cheesecloth for anything? Does the word cheesecloth form mixed images in your brain? Do you recall cutting your first board? Do you use the words scrollsaw and jigsaw interchangeably? Have you ever sold your work? Was it worth it? Is it just me, or does it just feel good to hold a well-balanced mallet? Did that question make you snicker? Shouldn’t tenon be spelled with a double ‘n’? Do you wonder if an equal balance of mortises and tenons exist in the universe? Have you ever made a door?
Does it bother you a little to know that no one will really comprehend all the work you put into a project? Would you trade you greatest project for a state-of-the-art table saw? Does Ikea make you feel more confident as a woodworker? Can you cut a decent circle? Do you have someone to leave your tools to after you die? Will that person appreciate them? Would you ever consider drinking a glass of wine in the shop? Does your imagination exceed your skills? Does it seem that most woodworking stems from knowing how to make a box?
Do you scoff at painting wood? Has anyone ever painted bubinga? Isn’t it amazing to see old movies of lumber jocks felling giant trees with those enormous 2-man saws? Does the word felling seem weird? Have you ever felled? Do you consider yourself creative? Should style sometimes trump functionality? What does hand crafted mean to you? What is the difference between an art and a craft? Will anything you make be around in 300 years? How about 1000? Is woodworking still fun for you?
-- Entertainment for mere mortal woodworkers. http://www.WoodworkingForMereMortals.com