Wheelchair Woodworking #12: There is a girl in the shop.............

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Blog entry by Jamie Speirs posted 04-09-2013 08:27 AM 2351 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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There is a “Girl” in the Shop

Yes it is true and also wonderful for keeping the Boys under control. Although we don’t have a toilet seat issue. One of the great things about converting an old commercial building is that we have Ladies Gents & disabled toilets.

Oddly, when our female friends first get the tour they always say that “you will be removing the urinals, wont you”? Well no! I’ve got sons, grandsons and I also come from a long line of men and it says Men on the door so they stay I wander…...........

Our Ros, yes she is a wonderful person whom I met at a Celtic Music Festival called Knockengorah about six years ago. I was doing spoon carving workshops. So we met Roslyn and Emily and have been good friends since, having many interests in common. Ros recently completed an honours bachelor degree in environmental issues (cant remember the proper name, but she is VERY clever. She has done all this while bringing up the most amazing daughter Kali single handed. Well now that Kali is growing up she has lots more spare time and wanted something to do on a Monday, so I suggested doing woodwork. I told her that I had a vacancy for a sander as you ALWAYS need another sander. To my delight she was up for it. No matter what budgets have been set there is always money available for sanding. I have production runs so there is always a sanding pile and every item is then up for sale so always a job available. I been asked why I don’t get my Jolly rouges to do sanding in return for tuition. Well that is a big NO! They need to develop skills and production sanding is “A Job” and it can be a bit of a shit one for production. I’m sure you all know what it is like to have to sand more than one of anything unless you’re Norm. They work on there own projects help with my personal ones and we all get involved in the finishing, the job of putting on the first coat of oil is “The Best Job” and given as a reward to the person who has made me the most tea. Yes! I read Tom Sawyer when I was a kid. . Also on off days before holidays I have spare days as there is always a need for pocket money. I do encourage them to sell their wares. Those are a smile making achievements. Talking of smiles, when Ryan arrived this morning I had Queen playing “We are the Champions”, boy the smile on his face was great. He is so proud. I may have wandered again…...................?
So with Ros agreeing to sand which although there has been not a lot to do of late. I’ve had the fun of an apprentice. We have done drywall partitioning, fitted out one pantry and in the progress of #2. We have built a wardrobe. So more learning at this stage and she just eats it all up. The great thing is that she is having fun learning, well so she is telling all her friends. It has worked out that Monday is the quiet sanding day and she has got a lot more learning and oiling. Wait, how come she gets to do oiling I hear you ask. Simple Bribery, she brings cake. Did I say she is no fool. The reason that I was sure that she would well was last year she asked if I would show her how to install a cat flap. So I did, but I let her do ALL of the work and it was in a hardwood panelled exterior door. She recently fitted another one and when I asked if she had any problems and she didn’t have any. It would bring a tear to a glass eye, I was that proud.


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

11 comments so far

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2916 days

#1 posted 04-09-2013 09:56 AM

What a great story Jamie! I love hearing of you group there. I think it is a great influence on them and they will all learn something that they can pass on to others too. It is such positive influence on many levels. I must say that I hope one day you introduce Ros to the scroll saw. I find that many girls have the patience required to do very fine and delicate work. She may be even better than the boys at it! ;)

Reading this was a wonderful way to begin the day. It just goes to show how far some positive influence can carry. I hope you have a great day today. (Pictures, please too!)

Take care – Sheila

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3014 days

#2 posted 04-09-2013 01:16 PM

I whole heartedly agree with Sheila, my wife was almost instantly superior to me when she took up scroll sawing but sadly other interest (photography) has taken over her heart. I will say she is very good and just ask Sheila cause she has seen some of her pictures! But please don’t foist all your sanding needs on poor Ros as nothing will burn out enthusiasm faster than sanding, unless she is one if those rare persons who thrive and live for sanding!

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3081 days

#3 posted 04-09-2013 01:40 PM

Glad your enterprise is doing well and that you are having fun. Good to hear that your missus has another
female on location occasionally to keep the Jolly Rogues in line. Thank you for sharing.

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

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3304 days

#4 posted 04-09-2013 02:27 PM

Sounds like a bunch of fun..especially with having interested in creating and learning.

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3330 days

#5 posted 04-09-2013 05:09 PM

It sounds like that girl has cheered you up a lot Jamie and surely your Jolly Rogues too. I can always see my grandson’s shoulders droop when I tell them it’s time for the sanding work, so either you are very lucky or maybe you should feel flattered that someone thinks enough of you to take on such a tedious task just to be in your shop. I’m sure the boys there have nothing to do with it. Keep up the good work!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View DocSavage45's profile


8549 posts in 2838 days

#6 posted 04-09-2013 05:34 PM

Great story, pass it on.

Unless the reseaarc has changed, female children tend to have better fine motor skill development, while the males have better gross motor development. I believe it starts to even out as they develop, but it may influence what and why they like.

Keep up the great learning.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Celticscroller's profile


1269 posts in 2069 days

#7 posted 04-09-2013 10:15 PM

Hi Jamie, I love to hear that more women are taking up wood working and while sanding can be tedious there is great satisfaction in achieving a nice smooth finish. My great nephew loves using the chop saw, and hammer and nails while my great niece who is much younger loves sanding – maybe the female patience thing! :)

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 2852 days

#8 posted 04-10-2013 12:26 AM

Thanks everyone
Girls are by far easier to teach
Boys do it the way Dad or Granddad did it whereas girls will accept
the new methods more readily especially if they can see the reason
Sanding can be a meditative experience, Arthur is a Church of Scotland
Elder of his church and when he has a meeting to go to he just sands
and does not even stop for a tea-break, that is real dedication we just
take a cuppa to him and let him to his thoughts. You don’t want to disturb
a sander. Young Arthur is 76 and travels all the way from Glasgow. I must write
the story about his new hip. If I forget please remind me.

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2686 days

#9 posted 04-10-2013 01:36 AM

Jamie- Keep up the inspiring stories. Always enjoy your stories. Best wishes.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View mafe's profile


11725 posts in 3085 days

#10 posted 04-10-2013 01:04 PM

What a lovely story Jamie.
I must agree, the urinal stays!
Sounds like a wonderful athmosphere there.
Sanding fo me is also a bad word, but this is also due to my health issue, I get strong pain in my arms when doing the same for long time.
Best thoughts my frien

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View justoneofme's profile


639 posts in 2476 days

#11 posted 04-11-2013 04:58 AM

Hi Jamie … So great to hear you let the girls play too!! Sanding can be ‘grunt work’ when having to do it all the time … so I’m glad to hear you’ve let Ros have a go at oiling every now and again so she can appreciate and enjoy the fruits of her labour!!

-- Elaine in Duncan

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