LumberJocks

Just when I thought I was good.... #1: A lesson in humility...

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by cajunpen posted 2353 days ago 3182 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Just when I thought I was good.... series no next part

Saw a blog earlier by DannyBoy about lathes brought back memories. Many years ago I got my first lathe – one of those cheap ones from Ohio Forge. I practiced and practiced until I finally got a spindle that looked decent. My next door neighbor – who is a carpenter – was out in the yard and I called him over to see my handy work. I was just so thrilled to show him something that I could do with wood that HE couldn’t do. Kenny is a really good finished carpenter, and I had been in his shop many times and knew that he did not have a lathe.

Well, he looked at my spindle and said that it was pretty fair for a beginner. I challenged him to come over and do one better on my lathe. Unfortunately he accepted and came over (now keep in mind that this was all being done in a friendly manner – we were and still are very good friends). Well Kenny came over and asked what tool I had used to do my spindle. I proudly handed him my cheap Sears Craftsman gouge and said “let’s see what you can do”. He put the gouge down, looked around and grabbed one of my screwdrivers – walked over to the grinder and sharpened it a bit and proceeded to blow my spindle making dreams totally away – his spindle was much nicer than mine AND WITH JUST A SCREWDRIVER!!!!!.

He went on to explain that he had spent his childhood years in his Father’s shop in Mississippi – and all he did all day long was turn spindles for the rocking chairs that his father made to sell.

Just a humbling experience that taught me to never take for granted what another’s talent or knowledge might be. I went on to learn a lot from Kenny and he turned out to be quite a talented furniture maker. Wish he still lived next door.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased." http://www.cajunpen.com/



13 comments so far

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

3962 posts in 2690 days


#1 posted 2353 days ago

Bill, You and Kenny just saved me about 20 bucks toward my next spindle gouge order. Time to crank up the grinder.
I already owe Dick Cain for saving me from purchasing a dovetail recess scraper by showing me how to make my own from a old dull file. Back when I thought I had to spend something from every paycheck on woodworking tools I might have been sore about not getting to fork-over the dough. I’m so over that spending addiction now (with gas at $3.19/gal I hold onto those bills until the eagle screams).

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View Robb's profile

Robb

660 posts in 2560 days


#2 posted 2353 days ago

Sometimes its really good to be reminded of where we’re at in the learning continuum :). Thanks for the good idea; when I get a lathe someday, I’ll try to remember. I’ve got way more regular screwdrivers than I ever use anyway!

-- Robb

View Russel's profile

Russel

2199 posts in 2565 days


#3 posted 2353 days ago

That’s a good lesson to learn Bill. I know I’ve been schooled a few times in that way. It makes you take a step back, but can also push you forward. Good story.

-- Working at Woodworking http://www.VillageLaneFurniture.com

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2448 days


#4 posted 2353 days ago

Nice story Bill. Too often we get into the unending tool chase thinking that our success/failure lies in the tool, itself and forget that experience is the real secret to success.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Grumpy's profile

Grumpy

19378 posts in 2477 days


#5 posted 2353 days ago

So true Bill. Been there done that. Great story. There is nothing like an equaliser is there.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15684 posts in 2845 days


#6 posted 2353 days ago

I think we all know the feeling, Bill. Every time I start to feel too good about my skills, someone posts a project that makes mine look like beginner shop class. <g>

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 2615 days


#7 posted 2353 days ago

Ah, humility. You live long enough you get used to it.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View scottb's profile

scottb

3647 posts in 2953 days


#8 posted 2353 days ago

great story!

Also nice to be reminded that we may already have more tools than we thought we had.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

View Karson's profile

Karson

34870 posts in 3027 days


#9 posted 2352 days ago

Bill How can you call him a friend. I mean he screwed up a good screwdriver.

Or did he go and get one of his own.

Great story.

Now in my shop he could find a screwdriver, but, he’d have a hard time finding the grinder.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View Pretzel's profile

Pretzel

93 posts in 2372 days


#10 posted 2352 days ago

lessons learned are the only way we can strive to become better

-- Pretzel L8agn

View cajunpen's profile

cajunpen

14377 posts in 2692 days


#11 posted 2352 days ago

Now, Karson – I let him screw up one of my screwdrivers, and now I have a new turning tool and know that I don’t know jack about woodworking yet.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased." http://www.cajunpen.com/

View rikkor's profile

rikkor

11295 posts in 2501 days


#12 posted 2352 days ago

It does pay to keep an open mind, and never quit learning, or being willing to learn.

View TedM's profile

TedM

2002 posts in 2359 days


#13 posted 2351 days ago

Methinks you were hustled. Just make sure you don’t play poker or pool with him either… :)

-- I'm a wood magician... I can turn fine lumber into firewood before your very eyes! - Please visit http://www.woodworkersguide.com and sign up for my project updates!

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase