So, a while back I got an email asking me to submit a paragraph or two to Powermatic for their Facebook contest. They were going to give away a mortising machine to the best story about what you would do with one. Now, I already have two power mortisers (a Harbor Freight and a Craftsman), but I’m not one to turn down free tools! So I wrote something up. Bottom line is, I didn’t win. They gave mortisers to three people with heart rending stories that deserved them a lot more than I did. But I thought it was fun anyway, and now that the contest is over I thought I’d share my entry and see if you would have voted for it… or just laughed…
If I had a Powermatic PM701 mortiser? Hmmmmm…
The first thing I’d do is put on my best jacket, you know, the corduroy one with the leather elbow patches. That and a pair of those aviator sunglasses is all it’ll take to get me spiffed up like Tommy Mac and ready to hit the town. I’d go to all the best joints, the night clubs and watering holes where woodworkers hang out. I’d walk up in there like a playa’, high fiving and giving those “point n’ wink” moves to random people in the crowd so everyone can see that I’m a guy who knows other guys. I wouldn’t order any drinks, because I want a clear head when I whip my new mortiser out of my backpack and start drilling square holes right into the top of the bar. The bartender doesn’t care because it’s my trademark move and all the ladies are crowding in just to see me work. Everyone’s waving their arms in the air like they just don’t care when I leave because I can’t stay long, there’s a party going on at the lumberyard and I’m the bell of the ball.
It’s nothing but guys in Roy Underhill suspenders and girls with tool belts who swoon when I step up to the nearest woodpile and fire that baby up. I added dual exhaust pipes and a sticker that says “No Fear”. The pipes don’t connect to anything; they’re just there to make me look like an outlaw on a Harley and dudes move aside when they see me come. Walnut, maple, basswood, it doesn’t matter because not a tenon in the place will go home without a mortise tonight!
A hush falls over the crowd as in walks Christopher Schwartz, his hair carefully parted to the side and a bandoleer full of chisels across his chest. He challenges me, but I’m not afraid because I have the power of Powermatic. Without a word we both tear into a stack of 2X4s because we’re woodworking titans who live on the edge. Mortises of every shape and size riddle the grain like pimples on a thirteen-year-old’s face as flames shoot from the steel and the chips rise knee-deep on the floor. It’s no holds barred, do or die, money for nothin’ and chicks for free. Chris wipes the sweat from his eyes with a foam paint brush but I show no sign of fatigue. My suped up mortising hot-rod hums to the tune of The Devil Went Down to Georgia and I’m laughing like a maniac as I cut more holes than anyone’s ever dared to imagine possible.
Then it ends when every woodworker in the joint drops to a knee and presents me with their best chisels like generals surrendering their swords. I am crowned the handsomest, most manly mortising king of all woodworking kind and at that moment, for the first time in my life I feel truly, completely ALIVE!
…that or I’d make some Morris chairs. Those chairs have a lot of mortises in them.
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