Bindlestiff

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Things were going along just fine until Bindlestiff showed up.
Today was my first day back in the shop since December and what a nice day it was, weather wise. Fifty-some degrees and sunny - a perfect day to begin cleaning up the mess I'd left from the last job I did.
In the normal course of events I clean up the shop just after finishing a project - empty the dust collector - re-hang the clamps - put away the odd tools that were left out in the hurly burly of completing an installation. This time I'd gotten bronchitis towards the end of the job and it had hung on for the better part of two months - so the shop looked like hell.
I was well on my way to having things squared away and was fitting a freshly cleaned Leuco finish blade ($180.00 in 1987 money) back onto the Unisaw when I was startled by a loud banging on the shop door.
Now, my shop door is really a pair of fifteen light French doors and any damned fool coulda seen that my back was turned and that I was bent over the tablesaw, concentrated like.
That made no nevermind to Bindlestiff, who pummeled the doors hard enough to rattle the glass close on to breaking and rattling me to the degree that I dropped the Leuco ($180.00 in 1987 money) into the innards of the Unisaw - and it didn't sound like it had a real easy trip to the bottom, neither.
Bindlestiff pretty much passes the duck test. He looks like a duck. He walks like a duck. And he sounds like a duck. But he's about six foot five and weighs better than an eighth of a ton - and he has a house down the road from me a bit, so I figger he ain't really a duck.
What he is, is a man who constantly tests the forbearance of his fellow man - what we here in the Southeast corner of Penssyltucky call, "A real pain in the ass."
I calmed myself for a bit by taking a few of those deep cleansing breaths that I had learned about in the Lamaz classes I'd taken with my wife, in preparation for the birth of my oldest child, although I'm not sure why I did that, as it hadn't worked for my wife when it came right down to it. When it came right down to it, she turned purple, dug her nails into my hand and cussed me and the doctor both, with language strong enough to burn the paint off the delivery room walls.
Hoping for a better result, and somewhat addled by the deep breaths, I turned to face Bindlestiff.
He stood on the other side of the French doors, that I keep locked, so that I won't be startled by intruders ( ! ), with a big grin on his ducklike face.
I've always made it a policy to be nice to the neighbors, even the ones that I don't care for much, because I was running a sub-rosa cabinetmaking shop behind my house, in a residential area - and I didn't want anybody to rat me out to the township. But I was retired from professional cabinetmaking now and thought to give Bindlestiff a piece of my mind.
It was only the fear of being physically accosted by a six foot five, better than an eighth ton duck that made me open the doors quietly and say,
"Hello, Bindlestiff."
"I could see from the road that you was working in here. Can you cut the tongue offa this piece of flooring for me", quacks Bindlestiff.
He held out a gnarly chunk of prefinished oak flooring, with a battered tongue and about a dozen nail holes along its twelve-inch length.
"I tried to beat it in to make it fit but it wouldn't lay down and I don't have no more pieces left."
"Sure", says I, so used to keeping peace with the neighbors that I did not express my inner thought of just where this mangled piece of flooring should rightly go.
I went to the tablesaw to retrieve the Leuco ($180.00 in 1987 money).
"Boy, you sure did jump when I knocked on your door."
"Yeah, too much coffee, I guess.", says I, while thinking about what kind of substances Mother Bindlestiff must have ingested during Bindlestiff's gestation period to produce such an awkward lump of flesh.
I retrieved the Leuco from the bowels of the Unisaw cabinet and set about looking it over very carefully.
Listen here, I had interviewed three different saw sharpeners before selecting one to sharpen that blade. It has a funny tooth configuration, with a hollowed tooth that comes to real sharp points on the outside edges - and it needs someone who won't mangle it according to the usual practice of sharpening shops. The guy I picked had kept the blade in primo condition for over fifteen years, without wasting any carbide.
It was my best blade for fine crosscut work.
As to why I mounted it with the intent of ripping the tongue off of the flooring piece, I couldn't tell you. I guess I just wanted to get Bindlestiff out of my shop as quickly as possible.
I didn't see any damage to the blade and set about to fire up the Unisaw.
"I pulled all the nails out real good." Says Bindlestiff, and, taking him at his word, and not seeing any evidence of metal in the holes, I turned on the saw.
I've a long-standing habit of staying out of the line of fire when turning on the tablesaw. Over the years I've had a few blades spit teeth at me when the saw started up and I no longer even think about standing where they can get me.
Bindlestiff, not being particularly mechanical, as evidenced by his violated flooring board, had not learned any protective strategies in this regard - and he stood right in line with the Leuco when she started up. I'd told him to stand off to the side but Bindlestiff ain't much of a listener.
I got about four inches into the cut when all hell broke loose.
The shrapnel caught Bindlestiff right in the middle of his, "I'd Rather Be Bowling" tee shirt and described a straight line through the dancing bowling pin graphic, from just below his neck to just above his belt.
Bindlestiff emitted a huge quack and had the most perfect look of shock and stupefaction on his face. Three small blood blossoms overtook the washed out colors of the "IRBB" tee shirt.
A fourth tooth had shattered the fluorescent tube in the overhead light and shards of thin glass, along with a powdery substance wafted down onto Bindlestiff's head.
The carbide didn't go in too deep. Bindlestiff picked the pieces out with his fingers. They were shaking pretty good.
I'd shut the saw down by reflex and once I saw that Bindlestiff wasn't mortally wounded, I picked up the piece of oak flooring.
The evidence was clear. There was a shiny piece of cut off flooring nail winking out from the board's edge.
"I had to twist one of them nail heads off." Says Bindlestiff, while fingering a puckered spot on his vast belly - that wasn't really bleeding much at all.
Well, old Bindlestiff wasn't hurt much. He had a few dents in his gut and some glass that we had to blow out of his hair with the air compressor.
He left the shop, with a new respect for the truth about hidden nails and a promise to pay for the Leuco ($180.00 in 1987 money).
I watched him walk down the road and thought about how getting a set of shades for the French doors might not be such a bad idea.
Thomas J. Watson-Cabinetmaker (ret) Real Email is: tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet Website: http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1
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I felt it....and I think I used to live beside him once....
thanks Tom! Rob
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On Sat, 28 Feb 2004 19:01:25 -0500, Tom Watson wrote:

<...>

Tom, when are you gonna stop foolin' around and write the book already? Another well-done yarn.
--
Joe Wells


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Tom Watson wrote:

Blinds? I'm thinking trip wire and Clamore at the top of the drive.
UA100
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Pink Flamingos, the ones with "THIS SIDE TOWARDS ENEMY" stenciled on one side.

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When it comes to bindlestiffs, one must read "Cities in Flight" by James Blish.
I don't have a Bindlestiff in my life right now, but recognize the breed.
--
Is it time to change my sig line yet?

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Tom Watson writes:

ROTFLMAO!
And I have been in a rotten mood for 2 days.
Thank you, Tom.
Charlie Self I don't approve of political jokes. I've seen too many of them get elected.
http://hometown.aol.com/charliediy/myhomepage/business.html
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only 2 days???
dave
Charlie Self wrote:

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I doff my hat to any man with 3 orders of magnitude more patience with his fellow man (I know, I know, I'm using the term loosely) than yours truly.
I've had one blade lose EVERY carbide tip...all in about .2 milliseconds. That was some REAL excitement!
Was Milli Vanilli named for the length of time they would remain popular?
dave
Tom Watson wrote:

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Tom Watson wrote:

snip
Thanks for the smilesTom.
My Mr. B jumped my locked side gate and proceeded to pound on my back shop door.
As somebody's sig line states
Every neighborhood has one..........
Gary
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You have a lot more patience than I, Tom.
The duck might not have made it out of my shop quite as intact.
Jon E
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Great yarn Tom. You have far more patience & tolerance than I do.
It occurs to me that there may be a silver lining to this incident. 1. BS may be reluctant to set foot in your shop again now that he was wounded. And/or. 2. You may never see BS again now that he owes you for the blade.
Art

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But the negative side is you may see a letter from BS's lawyer asking for damages and medical expensives, pain and suffering, and mental anguise <vbg!!>
John
wrote:

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wrote:
snip

snip
I hit a nail that someone else had twisted the head off of once. either the broken tooth or bits of nail hit my glasses. the lens shattered and a shard of glass cut my eyelid right to the edge. it was such a clean cut that the first inkling I had that I'd been cut was when the blood dripped into my eye.
I wear polycarbonate lenses now....
    Bridger
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Wonderful Tom! Straight to the ww'ing humor file.
--
Nahmie
Those who know the least will always know it the loudest.
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On Sat, 28 Feb 2004 23:59:15 -0500, "Norman D. Crow"

That might be a good thing to keep in the shop. Whenever a Bindlestiff comes in, just hand them a copy, move them out the door, and lock it.
P.S: Don't forget to pull the blinds.
.-. Better Living Through Denial --- http://www.diversify.com Wondrous Website Design
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Tom Watson wrote:

After reading all the replies, I'm glad I have a personal policy of not speaking to any of my neighbors. Any of them get close and I turn on the saw and start shouting at the top of my lungs " What?!? WHAT?!? WHAAAAAAT?!? Come back later, I can't hear you!!"
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Great story, Tom. I laughed so hard I don't think my pants will ever dry!
Jay in NH
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S S Law writes:

Next time, Depends before you crank 'er up.
Charlie Self I don't approve of political jokes. I've seen too many of them get elected.
http://hometown.aol.com/charliediy/myhomepage/business.html
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Sometimes sharing can be taken too far...
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