A lot of people ask me who works in the Stumpy Nubs Workshop. They see me talking to someone off camera on one of the shows, or they notice I say “we, here at the Stumpy Nubs Workshop” a lot, yet I’m the only one they ever see on camera. So, here’s the lowdown on that:
It’s much like the situation that Sam Maloof enjoyed, only without the skill and artistic genius. He hired a young man to help him around the shop. Soon he had far more people who wanted to be his “shop boy” than he had space for them to work in. So he started telling people they could work there if they would do it for free. He found that aspiring woodworkers were more eager to learn from him than they were to get a paycheck, and he never paid for his help again. So I put an ad in the local paper:
“Wanted: Someone to work for free. Must be willing to work sporadic hours, do whatever I tell you, and assume the risk of serious bodily injury simply for the right to tell your friends that you work in the Stumpy Nubs Workshop.”
I don’t know how it worked so well for Maloof, because it sure didn’t work for me. Sure, I got a few responses, but some of them were too vulgar to mention. It took months to weed out the crazies and settle upon three “helpers” for the shop. They might not be much to look at, and the smell is sometimes overpowering, but they literally work for peanuts and they all signed one of those “I promise not to sue if I lose my thumbs” documents.
Joy is a 30 year old mother of three horrific children. She’s always late, and always cheerful. I suppose that’s why she’s named “Joy”. Some days I think she should be named “gets nothing useful accomplished”, but I give her a break because I know she has to go home to those screaming parasites and I’m just glad she chooses to come back here when the more obvious choice is a glass of wine and a bottle of sleeping pills.
Randy is 18 years old, and he’s slow. No, I don’t just mean he takes half the day to sweep the shop, I mean he talks slowly, walks slowly and I am entirely convinced that his mother drank a great deal throughout her pregnancy. He has a massive head covered with curly black hair so thick that several tools have been lost forever in there. A matching mustache and one of those revolting tufts of hair beneath the lower lip complete the package. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a lot of fun to be around. He talks endlessly about stuff only an 18 year old would care about and listens to heavy metal music on a massive pair of headphones, making it impossible to get his attention without throwing a hunk of oak at the back of his head.
Kyle was the first person I hired, and I actually pay him. Well, truth be told, I don’t really “pay” him in the strictest sense of the word. What I do is give him the bags of sawdust that I can’t get the garbage man to take any more. For the life of me, I can’t figure out what he does with all of it. But I stopped asking questions when I realized that he knew how to turn the table saw off and on, which is a real resume enhancement around here. Kyle manages the shop, keeps everyone as productive as one would expect from this lot, and applies all of the bandages.
By now you’re drawing a mental picture of the world I live in, and it ain’t pretty. It’s a wonder that the show gets produced at all! But, the Stumpy Nubs Workshop is a labor of love and I don’t know what I’d do without it. As for Joy, Randy and Kyle, I fall asleep every night and peacefully dream about what I would do without them…
(Ok… I admit, some of the details about the Stumpy Nubs Workshop are exaggerated for entertainment value. For example, my name is not really Stumpy Nubs!)
-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at: http://www.stumpynubs.com