Toolchap’s recent blog entitled “Goblins or gremlins” made me wonder what exactly the difference is between the two. My research led me to the book “Magicians and Fairies” that I found in our library. It had the following to say:
“Goblins are said to have human form, but are small and rather grotesque. They are spirits of the earth like fairies, pixies and elves but unlike the other spirits they are usually malicious. Goblins originally came from France, and then spread all over Europe, sailing to Britain on Viking ships. (I would guess some of them most have stowed away on the Mayflower too. Another adventurous band of gremlins must have boarded ships of the Dutch East India Company because one certainly finds them in South Africa as well. If someone should do a study on the role gremlins played in the history of mankind it will make for fascinating reading. This could be a great thesis for a doctorate in history. Too bad I’m a woodworker!) French mothers used to threaten naughty children that ‘the goblin will eat you; the goblin will take you away’. Stealing children is one of their nastier tricks, and they also torment humans by tipping over pails of milk, hiding hen’s eggs (which explains a lot about the recent lack of eggs in my chicken coop), blowing soot down chimneys and snuffing out candles. Hobgoblins are not as evil as goblins, just rather mischievous…….”
“Almost all fairies have been around since time began, but GREMLINS are a new race that revealed itself only in this century. Airforce pilots were the first people to come across gremlins: an engine that was perfectly all right the night before failed to start; or there was an unaccountable leakage of petrol from the tanks or air from the tires. Sightings have been made at different locations in various parts of the world, but it is generally agreed that there is a horde of malicious spirits whose sole purpose is to bring about all those little mishaps that plague our lives. GREMLINS LURK AROUND ANYONE WHO IS USING TOOLS OR MACHINERY.
So if you have ever wondered why there is always a knot in the plank of wood just where you want to saw it or why the sewing thread runs out just before you have got to the end of the seam – blame it on the gremlins! “
There you have it; it is GREMLINS we have to contend with in our shops. I think a long overdue requirement in the woodworking field is a GE(Gremlin Effect) Analysis. Data needs to be gathered: They are the ones who stretch my tape measure when I’m not looking. They are the ones we steal my pencil. They are the ones who roll my freshly sharpened chisel off the bench. They are the ones who…. (feel free to add your own)
-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."