I know what I did was wrong but I needed the tools badly.

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Blog entry by ashahidan posted 12-02-2009 02:44 AM 1566 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I started woodworking when I was in fourth year of secondary school. In that year I was able to attend
the woodworking class once a week. Then I joined the Woodworker club of my school and with that I was allowed to use the wood shop after school but I was never allowed to use the machines in there.
I was from a poor family and I needed a few chisels.
As I was allowed into the hand tool store I stole one chisel per week by putting them in my trouser pocket . I stopped when I had taken five chisels. I knew what I did was wrong but the temptation was too great. I didn’t have the money to buy them.
Twenty years ago I went back to that school and donated to the workshop five Marples chisels I brought back from UK .I hope no one has stolen them yet!
Woodworking was my hobby and I needed tools other than the badly sharpened handsaw and wood planes belonging to my father.
I made a shaky wooden study table with the stolen chisels and some blunted tools belonging to my father. I remember the teeth of my father’s handsaw looked more like a set of white shark”s teeth but it was alright for me. The table had a drawer which would spill all the contents if I was not careful in pulling it out.
You know from where I got the woods ? I stole the wood which my father kept under the house to dry. He knew about it but he said nothing to me. He told my mother that someone he knew had borrowed his planks .
My school also had a well stocked library. I borrowed books on carpentry to learn woodworking but I never stole any because I thought I might stop other boys from getting knowledge on woodworking.

Now i had many tools and I guarded them like hell because I don’t want anybody to steal them.


-- asm

11 comments so far

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3297 days

#1 posted 12-02-2009 02:53 AM

Great story!.....You certainly must have really wanted to do woodworking to go through so much to gather knowledge and tools…..

I think for all of us there are things in life that we wish we had done differently or not at all ….but you certainly made up for “borrowing” the chisels… would be nice if some of the other things we regret were so easy to remedy…

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View Roz's profile


1699 posts in 3814 days

#2 posted 12-02-2009 03:03 AM

It seems to me, that the fact you were concerned enough to go back and make amends to the school for tools they probably never missed is testament to your character. My guess is you have done much good with the skills you developed.

I was always interested in building something as a kid. My first introduction to carpentry was through an old man my father hired to build him a small work shop. Every day I would go down to spend time with him after school and he would teach me something. It was a big deal for me that this man to take time to teach me something. I knew him as Mr. Poarch. A great name for a carpenter.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3136 days

#3 posted 12-02-2009 03:24 AM

Thank you for sharing so much of yourself Asm. As already noted, your recognition of the stealing of the chisels and the effort to set right that wrong speak of your character. I understand a little of the poverty in which you speak. My Grandfather was a coal miner in the hills of Harlan County. He had 8 children and a very small house. In order to make an addition, he had to tear down a barn and use the wood to tack on to the structure. He had a saw, an axe, and a hammer. He did what he had to do to get by and make sure mouths were fed. I hope the sharing of your story helps put ease to your conscience and you can move on to the future and maybe grip your tools just a little less tightly :)


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4188 days

#4 posted 12-02-2009 03:33 AM

and I commend you on your honesty—not only on “donating” the new chisels but on posting the story here.

isn’t it interesting to look back on one’s journey

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View patron's profile


13608 posts in 3368 days

#5 posted 12-02-2009 04:15 AM

thank you for this honesty ,
as a fellow woodworker ,
i know the ‘zeal’ that drives us .

woodworking is about doing ,
it teaches us honesty ,
if something fits bad it says so ,
if we don’t pay attention ,
it shows .

welcome to LJ’s .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20599 posts in 3133 days

#6 posted 12-02-2009 05:44 AM

Five chisels. That nothing. I had a friend in grade school that had a paper route after school and he had one of those big newspaper bags. He had a Sears catalog that showed this 200 piece socket set with all the sockets extensions ratchets etc. He walked through Sears and collected almost half that set the first trip and got out with it. They he laid it all out and compared it to the catalog and went back a few times and stole all the rest. The kicker was that his dad worked at that store in another dept.
he moved to pennsyvania befor we got out of 8th grade. I just got one card from him and it said they have a Sears store here with a great tool dept!!

I got off the woodworking subject with this one!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View ashahidan's profile


64 posts in 3126 days

#7 posted 12-02-2009 08:50 AM

I thought I would surely be cursed to enter Hell for stealing but instead I got commendations for telling the truth.
Being poor is difficult and it tend to drive one to committing stupid things. World is like that,not everyone is lucky.

After spending my childhood without luxury I always tend to be thrifty whenever I wanted to make something of wood. As far as possible I try not to throw away small offcuts because there will be times when I need them.If I throw the offcuts away I have to use new wood whenever I need only small pieces.
I kept the waste wood in a 50kg plastic bag. To tell the truth I even kept the wood shavings for my sawdust pottery kiln. So almost no wood is wasted.

I also collect timber from crates . Most of the timber is the softwood type .I like the grain structure of softwood . At the same time it is easy to plane. I made one shoe cabinet and two aquarium stands out of crate timber. And I still have some planks from Brazil left for some craft items later on. I would like to insert some images but I don’t how to yet…slow brain.
Actually there are a lot of things one can do with recycled timber. Woodworking does not have to be expensive. See you again next time

-- asm

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4188 days

#8 posted 12-02-2009 01:00 PM

didn’t see any reason to lecture you about stealing…. seemed like you carried the weight of the deed around with you for many years without lectures from others :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3136 days

#9 posted 12-02-2009 03:25 PM

You are right Asm, wood does not have to be expensive. People throw away old furniture, there are pallets routinely dumped, and old buildings (barns, houses, etc.) that get torn down. I think you can always tell when a woodworker is behind the wheel of a car. They have a tendency to slow down while driving past a demolished barn or building and you can almost hear the gears in their mind going “hmmmm.”

As far as judgment goes, I live by a very old maxim “Judge not that you be judged.” I have done enough wrong in my life. If God can’t forgive others, He sure isn’t going to forgive me.

Welcome to LJ’s.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4274 days

#10 posted 12-02-2009 07:53 PM

Amen David, Asm, Welcome to Lumberjocks I would like to see some of your projects. I’m not that good at posting blog photos but posting projects is easy as pie. Just follow the directions.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Karson's profile


35125 posts in 4428 days

#11 posted 12-03-2009 05:33 AM

Having the right or easily accessible tool is a drive of all of us. (not necessarily stealing but hiding from the wife is a common occurrence)

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

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