Today my wife asked me to build her something. A toy shelf out of wood. I haven't done anything like that since I was a kid, and back then it was impolite to say, "Wow? Did you make that? Kid...that looks like garbage." I'm not even sure where to start. I have a workbench, but I hadn't actually thought of using it for anything. I hope my tools don't get freaked out by actually having to cut things. "Work? What's up with that? I though we were just for show!"
The toy shelf turned out okay. The children don't know what it's for and keep sleeping on the shelf like a set of junior bunk beds. What if it falls apart? That would be embarrassing trip to the hospital. "So, Mr. Brown...not only did you maim your daughters with your poor woodworking skills, but as I can see from this chunk of wood protruding from your eldest child's arm...you also need to work on more uniform staining application."
Why is it that '10 simple steps' in a magazine come out to '25 impossible fitting joints' in the garage? Nothing is as simple as the cartoon drawings show stuff. I think they specifically leave out steps that are important just to get a laugh. "Hank, did you see my piece called "A fun afternoon project? I can picture grown men weeping into piles of sawdust. For my next article I'm thinking of writing, 'Antique Furniture in Thee Simple Steps.'"
I'm hooked. I've found myself in the garage more than at my computer. I wonder if it's feeling lonely? I honestly don't care. My only regret is splinters. There are days when I feel that there are more trips inside the house to remove a errant piece of wood from my finger than actually building something. I've become a human pincushion for birch, oak and walnut. Certainly nothing I ever had to deal with in computing. Blisters and pockmarked fingers make it hard to type. Maybe I'll go back into the garage....
Splinters are now the least of my worries. Today I am the proud owner of a table saw. So far I'm so scared of it I have trouble using it. I envision gruesome dismemberment every time I power it on. Fortunately now people are also willing to share their horribly graphic accidents with me. People, stop it! That's not helping. I spend most of the conversation in my 'happy place' fighting the urge to hurl all over them. I've resolved to try out some hand tools.
I'm never going to get it. I can't cut a straight line with scissors and a hand saw is even harder. So far I've cut and hurt myself more with my chisels and flush cut saw, then any power tool I own. There's a reason our ancestors evolved and harnessed electricity. The simple answer is that, 'Hand tools suck' and all the rants about 'craftsmanship' and 'patience' now will only fall on deaf ears. Here comes "SEVEN FINGERS BROWN" mangled but productive!
I live eat and dream woodworking. I'm constantly covered in sawdust and machine oil fighting the cold for another hour in the shop. I have a ton to learn and I'm still looking for another soul I can hook on this hobby, but I think it has transcended 'fad' and become a full blown addiction. We will see if this goes to wayside that some of my other addictions have gone. As for right now, I hope not. There is something so gratifying about destroying innocent wood for fun.