The Small Stuff

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Blog entry by David Craig posted 03-20-2010 11:48 AM 1227 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

There was a book written a few years ago entitled Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. While I am not an advocate of violence, I do sometimes entertain the thoughts of various purgatories for the author. I do understand Richard Carlson’s point about trying to live life stress free and not worry so much about little things, but it is the little things that often make or break us.

As Charles Bukowski once wrote -

it’s not the large things that
send a man to the
madhouse, death he’s ready for, or
murder, incest, robbery, fire, flood…
no, it’s the continuing series of small tragedies
that send a man to the
not the death of his love
but a shoelace that snaps
with no time left…
the dread of life is that swarm of trivialities
that can kill quicker than cancer
and which are always there—

As I have stated a few times, I have been making it a goal to outfit my shop as best as possible this year. I have been picking up the machines I have wanted, every other paycheck dedicated to a larger purchase. I mostly concentrated on the machines but there are also times when one has to concentrate on building up stock of the small things.

When we are new, that seems to be where the focus is. We need the scrollsaw, the tablesaw, the jointer, the planer, etc. What often is not understood in the beginning is the fact that those are the cheap items :) Then you have the blades, the sharpening supplies, sandpaper, glue, drill bits, router bits, chisels, clamps, fasteners, and sometimes you might even have to think about wood :)

So my concentration this last month has been stocking up on the supplies. I have been creating my grocery list of the little odds and ends. I am hoping to get that Rockler gift card soon. I already have the cart created for glue (titebond extenze versions for slower set times), detail sanding pads, painters pyramids, Olsen scrollsaw blades, burnisher and file for the card scrapers I received for Christmas, and I went to big box stores yesterday and picked up another collection of quality clamps and bulk sandpaper packs. I will be making an order to McFeely’s soon for their fasteners. All the things that don’t really cross my mind until I look at a project and realize I am short on a number of things.

To paraphrase a very old proverb on “sweating the small stuff”

For want of a clamp, the glue joint was lost
For want of a glue joint the board was lost
For want of a board the project was lost

Happy woodworking all,


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

7 comments so far

View noknot's profile


548 posts in 3470 days

#1 posted 03-20-2010 01:54 PM

Well said well done


View Woodbutchery's profile


400 posts in 3614 days

#2 posted 03-20-2010 02:19 PM

That just sounds so … organized! ;-)

And so true. Nice blog.

-- Making scrap with zen-like precision - Woodbutchery

View PineInTheAsh's profile


404 posts in 3296 days

#3 posted 03-20-2010 03:46 PM


An excellent submission which may or may not have far-reaching implications than you or I, or perjaps any of us thought.

Please permit a quick background: I was born dirt poor in NYC Manhattan, and into a fractured family. In short, to this day I do not know who my father was. Mom’s signature was as a beautiful woman who wound up as superintentant of two six-story apartment buildings. She was attentive to eveyone, including the needs of the garbage cans (there were at least twenty-four cans) to be lined up properly so the sanitation men could take the cans quick and clean. There was not one of the multi-ethnic familes that did not love Mom. Talk about a rich mosaic, we had it all. Name it, we had it. Wonderful hard working families. They all took care of the details. Perhaps long before details were “details.”

I never to this day graduated high school as I had to get a job to support Mom and myself.

For more than thirty years in my commercial printing business we’ve always sweated the small stuff.

Somewhere along the line we subscribed to “god is in the details.”
It was most important and helped us commericialy.

And stepped up further the detail to making our shop functional, safe, and beautiful.

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3314 days

#4 posted 03-20-2010 05:20 PM

Great post David—-How true!



View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3362 days

#5 posted 03-20-2010 11:34 PM

Could not agree more David. The more our vision clears the closer we get to the details and the more we understand their significance.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4275 days

#6 posted 03-21-2010 10:29 AM

Very well said, David you write very well. I even agree with most of what you wrote, but I won’t argue with you, we can do that anytime over COFFEE! By the way, we drank much more coffee than beer, my wife had to go out in the freezing cold to get me more the next day, nah, just kidding, she did mention how much coffee we drank. So if you want to bring something next time make it coffee, OK? Or donuts would be good, screw the Dr. Don’t suppose she reads this does she?

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

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3137 days

#7 posted 03-21-2010 03:11 PM

Thanks for the comments everyone. Some of my views are probably inspired by going to so many meetings before a system upgrade or system downtime and being poo poo’ed over my concern of some minor detail or another. And I would say that 9 times out of 10, any issues that occurred was related to the small detail, the insignificant thing that no one wanted to worry about because we do not “Sweat the Small Stuff.”

Pineintheash – Thank you for sharing your background. It sounds like your mother had a great mind for detail and it sounds like you had a neighborhood rich in culture and integrity that served you well in life. Education is education, whether it comes with a piece of paper or not. It sounds like you received much knowledge growing up that was equally, if not more beneficial than the high school education you might have had.

Mike – Sorry for breaking the guy code ;) From now on, beer, junkfood, ciigarettes, and evenings spent watching scantily clad women wrestling in mud will now be called “Coffee” :)
Just kidding – I will be happy to bring over a container.

Thanks for reading and commenting all,


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

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