Crazy Stuff Stumpy Thinks About #25: Be a mentor! Teach some kid about woodworking... and how to spit.

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Blog entry by StumpyNubs posted 08-07-2012 11:26 PM 5723 reads 0 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 24: I think Lynyrd Skynyrd put it best... Part 25 of Crazy Stuff Stumpy Thinks About series Part 26: Grandpa's green monster »

I’ve been married for almost 16 years, an unbelievable accomplishment for a guy who picks his nose in public. I remember when I first announced I was getting married. Some said “To a girl?” others said “How old are you?”

I was 18 years old, old enough to legally tie the not, but too young to toast with anything stronger than Mountain Dew at the reception. She was 19 and I was a lucky man. And I am still a lucky man, because I got in on the ground floor of marriage. We learned young, and now we’re professionals.

It’s much like the French classes I took as a first grader. They taught us young, when our minds were open and before “french fries”, “french toast” and “french kissing” spoiled our ability to understand what France was really about.

So today I am a French speaking, happily married man in my mid-30’s, trying my hardest to be a good woodworker. Therein lays the problem. Why the heck didn’t they teach us woodworking at a young age instead of a language we would only use if we were shanghaied into the French Foreign Legion? What good is a handful of French words to me now, in Michigan, a million miles from the nearest madamwaselle? (Yes, I know that’s not the proper spelling. Mind your own bees wax.)

If my parents would have put a chisel in my hand instead of a book, I am convinced that I would be the third Greene brother today. (If you don’t know what Greene & Greene furniture is you need to move out of the cave and read up on the finest woodworkers of the last century.)

The point is, kids should be taught something useful. Something like woodworking.

I don’t have kids. But I would be more than happy to teach yours. I promise to treat them well. I only spank occasionally with a good leather belt or perhaps an extension cord… but I always unplug it first. I don’t swear, but I am willing to teach them a few. I won’t teach them to smoke or chew, but I can spit like a champ and they’re sure to pick that up. Most importantly, I plan on teaching them to pound a few nails, saw a few boards and which glues are safe to eat. Two or three years with me and you’ll have a son (or daughter if you’re one of those “modern families” that allow that sort of thing) freshly programmed to love something besides video games and texting. The down side is they might become addicted to my “unique” sense of humor. But it’s better than those special brownies they’ll be jonesing for once they get into collage.

Of course, you could teach them yourself. I suppose that would be a far less traumatic option. Fewer calls from Social Services, and all. But for the love of everything holy, TEACH THEM! Cram something useful into their young skulls full of mush before they get filled up with the nonsense they learn in school like science and… math.

If you do decide to go it alone, try sitting them in front of the television with a bowl of cheerios and a few episodes of Blue Collar Woodworking. I hear it’s the best woodworking show since the invention of wood. Then you can sit back and have a cold one… because you’ve earned it, my friend!

Oh… and before people start quizzing me… I’ve forgotten most of my French. So pass the fries…

(”Crazy stuff Stumpy Thinks About” is a weekly blog offering a woodworker’s perspective on life inside and outside the shop. If you don’t get all of the jokes, don’t worry. Few people do. Look for future entries every Wednesday here on LumberJocks or at

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

16 comments so far

View Alexandre's profile


1417 posts in 2218 days

#1 posted 08-07-2012 11:48 PM

Stumpy, can I come to you?
I think I’ll enjoy your summer camp :P

-- My terrible signature...

View Dave's profile


11429 posts in 2867 days

#2 posted 08-07-2012 11:54 PM

Nice blog Stumpy. We think along the same lines. There is a time and place for television and video games. But there is also a time to learn skills that will feed and shelter you.
Well written.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View Gary's profile


9333 posts in 3460 days

#3 posted 08-08-2012 12:02 AM

OK….you win. I’m sending my son to you. BTW….he’s 42

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View Dave's profile


11429 posts in 2867 days

#4 posted 08-08-2012 12:13 AM

Wow Gary.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View Roger's profile


20929 posts in 2831 days

#5 posted 08-08-2012 12:13 AM

AAAAAaaaaaaaa Men! Make them add 1 + 1 in their head. See how many get it right

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View crashn's profile


528 posts in 2492 days

#6 posted 08-08-2012 12:15 AM

I’m a kid at heart, i’ll be there in a few. I could use some advanced spitting lessons

-- Crashn - the only thing I make more of than sawdust is mistakes

View DIYaholic's profile


19623 posts in 2702 days

#7 posted 08-08-2012 12:27 AM

I’ve got the spitting up down to a science (mixology)! I’ve been told, by many experienced women, that I am a “quick” study! I’m very young at heart, at least that’s what my friends & family say. Unless of course, they really mean that I am very immature (I’ll have to go with the latter)!!! I can be in Michigan within the week. I do have one question though. Are meals & cold ones included? One more question. Where in Canada is Michigan?

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View DamnYankee's profile


3301 posts in 2589 days

#8 posted 08-08-2012 01:02 AM

DIY – I think its way up near the Arctic Circle.

Stumpy – My youngest daughter (10) already has her own tool boxes with REAL tools! (makes my wife nervous sometimes). I am teaching hand tools first along with a limited selection of power tools (drill/driver mostly). I will likely teach her to use a jigsaw or drill press next. Any thoughts on progression are appreciated. She often comes out to the shop to be with me and for some odd reason likes to sweep and vacuum (poor me I know).

My oldest daughter (13) isn’t interested.

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

View boxcarmarty's profile


16303 posts in 2387 days

#9 posted 08-08-2012 01:33 AM

I have a son that works in the shop with me. 1 out of 4 ain’t bad…..

-- My mind is like lighting, one brilliant flash, then its gone.....

View DocSavage45's profile


8601 posts in 2870 days

#10 posted 08-08-2012 01:42 AM

When I counsel kids about the future I strongly recomend 2 year technical colleges and community colleges especially if they don’t really know what to do. The debt level will be more manageable. The good part is a lot of vocational hands on training, as well as the beginning parts of more sophistocated learning if it turns out they like it. Often they don’t take my adviceand I wish them well.

I learned woodworking by watching my dad!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3165 posts in 3136 days

#11 posted 08-08-2012 01:51 AM

All 3 of my sons know how to work wood a little; first one’s good with avionics (Air Force); second one is studying mechanical engineering, the youngest, criminal justice.

I haven’t had a bad cold in years, but in my youth I could hock a hard loogy over 30 feet. Don’t know if that counts for much, though.

My head’s full of science and math, too…degree in mathematical physics…a highly specialized kind of laxative…not.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View DamnYankee's profile


3301 posts in 2589 days

#12 posted 08-08-2012 02:43 AM

I won a watermelon seed spitting contest once, does that count?

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3112 days

#13 posted 08-08-2012 01:49 PM

Did not have much of a shop when the kids were younger, but I do get shop time with grandsons and great
grandsons now, so I am learning. Never was much good at spitting, but most of us kids were pretty good
with our home made slingshots if that counts. The wife is still thinking about letting me go as far as the UP
by myself, but I think I am going to have to finish a couple of projects first. Do you have any openings in
about 10 years?

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View ShopTinker's profile


884 posts in 2795 days

#14 posted 08-10-2012 01:32 AM

I taught both of my kids to hammer nails before they were four. I remember my daughter at four helping me nail down deck boards. We were using 16p spiral shank galv nails. I’d start the nail for her and slip a nailer board up around it and she would get busy hammering away. It took her about 50 hits with a 12oz hammer, but she would eventually get it down to the nailer board and then I would finish it for her. She worked with me for hours

It makes me chuckle to remember her hammering away and how determined she was. She grew up to be very handy, mechanical engineer, and has a good set of tools for home repairs. Good thing too as her husband, a chemical engineer, doesn’t own any tools or know what to do with them. He’s a good helper though and provides the muscle when she needs it.

It’s a shame how many of our schools have eliminated shop classes and how many young guys at our office don’t know a socket from a box wrench, or a claw hammer from a tack hammer.

By the way, I did teach both kids to spit water melon seeds for distance. :)

-- Dan - Valparaiso, Indiana, "A smart man changes his mind, a fool never does."

View rodman40's profile


166 posts in 2354 days

#15 posted 08-24-2012 09:52 PM

Stumpy, I need lessons on how whistle real loud through dentures, can you teach me soon I’m 71 years old, officially became a Senior Citizen yesterday when I went see a doctor because of high blood pressure, dang I’m getting old at last but still young at heart when I see a pretty young gal.

-- Rodman

showing 1 through 15 of 16 comments

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