Note: This post started out as a reply to this comment on my personal blog, but I felt it warranted its own blog entry.
I just received what I call my first “hate mail” over on Adventures in Woodworking. It’s actually not hateful, just insulting and mean. In short, Adam (not Cherubini) tore apart the workmanship on my chisel box (which even I said was shoddy), and said that the plastic packaging the chisels came in was better than what I did.
At first, I was angry, sure. And a bit defensive. But the more I thought it over, the more I realized that all we have is a simple difference of opinion. Adam apparently thinks that everything you make out of wood should glisten with craftsmanship. And I think that everything you make out of wood that is for use in the shop should work...and who cares what it looks like.
I don’t make shop furniture for people to see and appreciate (as Adam believes you should). I make shop furniture to make my woodworking easier. My chisels were rattling around in a plastic tub with hand planes, scrapers and saws. I needed them in a box that would keep them still and the blades protected. Check. I needed the box to be as small and lightweight as possible, since they go around the world (literally) every couple years or so. Check. I needed to build it quickly, since those of you who DO read my blog (you’re still welcome, Adam!) know that I spent six months making a jewelry box and six weeks making a simple step stool. Check.
I know that lots of guys out there like pretty shop furniture. Workbenches are works of art these days. But everyone (yes, even Adam!) draws the line somewhere. Do you inlay your push stick? Do a little decorative carving on your shooting board? Why not?
Lastly, I also must disagree with Adam that the plastic packaging is better than where my chisels are currently housed, for one main reason. I didn’t just get a chisel box out of that weekend’s work. I got additional experience working with wood and figuring out what to do…and yes, what not to do.
P.S. The title of this blog entry, for those who didn’t get it, is from the movie Babe about a sheep-herding pig.