The old time woodshop journals #41: Time

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Blog entry by jjw5858 posted 03-17-2013 09:20 PM 1170 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 40: Wandering in the woods Part 41 of The old time woodshop journals series Part 42: My website is complete! »

Sitting inside the shop gazing at the shavings, I milled around recalling more projects and techniques to try out. I found myself looking at the hand planes displayed for future use and I began to think it is amazing how everything in our lives is connected with time.

From the age in our own faces to the growth rings in our wood working grains time spins forward. Approaching the bench I found myself perhaps wasting time as I began dabbling more in debate versus positive production. Like any activity sometimes a good cleaning out of the mind does your sanity good and so I write it down.

My process on here is to tap into deeper ideas and thoughts, bringing the spirit of woodcraft to the forefront trying to conjure inspiration of what is next for any of us to make. Putting things together with wood goes so much further past the actual physical activity, it’s a different process for each person. Some sketch, others follow specific planned steps, some wing it, and even some roughly slam things together in an almost rushed manner. I may have been guilty of trying all of those…lol.

No matter what style you start with I think the learning and feeling accomplished of what you create is one of those portions of the overall scenario that never seizes to satisfy us. It is somehow an exercise that is within us to conduct over and over again, to be part of the concert of using tools to build from our thoughts.

Each particular piece that has been made is a part of the carpenters resume or more so their lives. Once more time is involved in the story, months to years and we can look back over the minutes, hours and months to revisit old subjects that were enjoyable, stubborn, and hopefully satisfactory when we were finished with the last bit of shellac. From a cabinet, tool box, workbench, or spoon all of these projects are bookmarks of where we were at in life, and what we may remember going through at that time.

I visited an elderly neighbor of mine this morning. His name is Red, and he has been our neighbor and friend for over 50 years. Red is a true outdoorsman, fishes, loves the ocean as well as the woods. From time to time I may see him getting the mail and we share a wave. Recently his health has greatly reduced and he was taken to the hospital just a few days ago. My father called his wife this morning and found that he had returned home and asked us to stop over and so we did. Entering their apartment I met up with time again, I saw a man that had aged quiet a bit in just 8 months. Red was frail and not at all himself, his terrific smile was hazed over in depression. Honestly by reading his expression I saw a man that was saying he would rather be sailing the hell out of here than having tubes and pills. Red was never one to sleep in late and hang on the couch, he was always outside doing anything and everything.

We had a nice visit with them, we shook hands and he was glad to see us. As I returned home I realized a hard fact, facing mortality is a part of life and it is something that will never seem fair. Knowing a man who could outwork the wind, build anything and do everything be suddenly stopped in his chair looking towards the floor in question made me settle my ego of being a mere 41 years of age. Red is the spirit of the woods and so the spirit of people like that I try to add into my wisdom and care for my chosen crafts.
One of the worst crimes in our world is forgetting the talents, accomplishments and shown respect to those far beyond our years. In plain terms I remind myself to not get above my raising.

So the grains and shaves will carry on, and my love of the crafting climb will continue to strengthen my skill. I am blessed to have wonderful people in my life and have become reminded of how grateful to be for my time.

I have never been an outstanding award winner of much, the prom king with his queen, or the football hero. Lacking the fame of any of those titles has fueled me with one thing I would not trade for any of those accolades and that is my soul. The great blues legend and guitarist Buddy Guy said “When I bend that guitar string I put my whole life into it” as do I Buddy with anything I love.

Love your craft and the skill will follow, breathe it and feel it deep within your being. Most of all…..enjoy your time!

Thank you for your inspirations and time!

Great shaves ahead and Happy St. Patricks day!



-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

8 comments so far

View Brit's profile


7373 posts in 2837 days

#1 posted 03-17-2013 09:44 PM

You’re a real inspiration Joe. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. It means a lot.

-- - Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 2403 days

#2 posted 03-17-2013 10:48 PM

Amen brother !

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View Don W's profile

Don W

18707 posts in 2562 days

#3 posted 03-18-2013 03:24 PM

Great read Joe I’d like to add one more point if you don’t mind. Just because I can remember 45 but it’s becoming a distant memory.

if your not enjoying your time you ARE wasting it. Wasted time is the worst kind.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View nobuckle's profile


1120 posts in 2756 days

#4 posted 03-19-2013 12:20 AM

I appreciate the thoughtfulness that goes into your blog posts. I haven’t reached the point yet where I am as philosophical about woodworking as you may be but I am always challenged to think deeper than I did before I read your posts. I enjoy conversation that challenges my thinking. So, whether it’s pondering about how and why I work the way I do or pondering the mortality of man I do my best not to let my mind atrophy. I man I know once said “complacency leads to contempt, contempt leads to ignorance”. May we never become complacent.

-- Doug - Make an effort to live by the slogan "We try harder"

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15343 posts in 2613 days

#5 posted 03-19-2013 12:39 AM

This is almost poetry, Joe.

Heck, I’m not an expert.

It probably is poetry!

Thank you.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View AnthonyReed's profile


9713 posts in 2435 days

#6 posted 03-19-2013 05:01 PM

It is so very fleeting.

Well said Joe. Thanks.

-- ~Tony

View Dave's profile


11429 posts in 2835 days

#7 posted 03-19-2013 11:45 PM

I keep telling him he writes well.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View jjw5858's profile


1135 posts in 2597 days

#8 posted 03-20-2013 12:57 AM

Thanks you gang for the comments and enjoying the blog! There will be plenty more in the near future with a website coming your way soon to boot with plenty of cool traditional woodworking things!

Thanks again friends,


-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

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