a. A sudden manifestation of the essence or meaning of something.
b. A comprehension or perception of reality by means of a sudden
Epiphanies in wooddorking are not uncommon. They are posted here often
enough, most of them having to do with a tool, material or process
previously unknown or misunderstood by the poster, and then once having
been experienced... well, we've seen how it goes. Sometimes it's a shy
admission, when some dyed-in-the-wool (The phrase relates to the
medieval method of adding dye to raw wool rather than to spun wool or
finished cloth. The final colour was much more long lasting and deeply
ingrained than dyeing at later stages of manufacture. If something is
dyed-in-the-wool, it's unlikely to change) Normite (power-tool user)
admits to the ethereal experience of wielding as simple a tool as a
well-tuned plane. Other times the experience is borderline religious,
such as when a long-awaited Lie-Nielsen (hate it when someone spells it
Lie-Nielson, Lee-Neelson or heaven forbid Lye-Nealson) gee-gaw arrives
at some addict^H^H^H^H woodworker's home and he/she first puts it to
use. I myself may have been guiltly of one or two of those. But this
evening's experience was nothing short of rebirth.
The last few weeks around our place (known to friends as "The Little
House in the Hood," have been busy busy busy. There are fewer than
eight weeks until another O'Deen is scheduled to pop outta SWIATAABOC
and so feeling that deadline (though certainly not in any way shape or
form that SWIATAABOC is a-feeling it) rapidly approaching, much as the
launch window of a Mars-bound orbiter (ya only get a launch window
every 26 months) seems to approach rapidly when your software
development team has just changed over four thousand lines of code and
characterized it as "a final tweak," has gotten me seriously into gear
in rehabbing a 12x12 room that needs to be brought into at least the
1950's, if not this millenium alltogether.
So, in reaction to a big job with the results hitting so close to home
(Momma wants a spiffy place for her baby), I did what most devoted
husbands do - I finagled some tools. First and foremost was something
serious to handle the demolition of rotted lath/plaster and a goodly
number of chewed 2x4's (real 2x4 timbers, not the nominal dreck we've
endured at lumber yards for decades). That tool was the heavy duty
Milwaukee Sawzall with 360 degree rotating handle. It is a beast and
did just what it needed to - destroyed everything and anything in its
path. While it was satisfying to put such a behemoth to use, it was
not worthy of an epiphany. I'd used various iterations (borrowed) on
other jobs and so this version was no surprise. Still, a helluva saw,
if not an outright extravagance.
And so now I am Joe Tradesman in that front room. But let's back a
sec... ever since I was a pup, my old man had me helping him in his
shop. We didn't do much fine wooddorking, mostly handyman things,
plumbing, electrical, framing, some finish carpentry, a bit of masonry,
auto repair... all swell activities that taught me how to
build/fix/destroy things and develop an appreciation for well-made
tools (and for putting 'em back when I was done with them). For a
couple summers, I made beer money as a gopher for a couple local
construction crews, mostly fetching other people's crap, but on many
occasions I'd be left behind to finish some stair stringers, finish-out
some fire blocks, etc.
Apply all that learning to your typical 'merican homeowner dude who
would rather build than buy, and you've got 25+ years of
knuckle-busting, cursing, whining, moaning... and a few
victories/projects along the way. And yet today was the day it all
came together for me.
Tonight I strapped-on and used my first honest-to-goodness top-grain
12-pocket genuine leather tool-belt. Whoopdeedoo, right? Wrong. I
looked back on my life as a DIYer, and mourned the many wasted hours I
spent beltless in a belted society. No time to dwell, however!!
I strapped that sucker on (just try to say/think the phrase "strapped
on," without eliciting visions of some guy getting in a fighter jet, or
perhaps some serious athlete putting his gear to take the field or
skate out onto the ice.... ok, I can think of one case, but that's
gotta be another news group and plus, she was young and needed the
money) and right away I felt more in command of my surroundings. The
last thing on my mind was the usual humming of a showtune as I worked.
I swaggered out to the living room to show the missus just how studly I
was and got a very approving look. I retreated to the project area
and "loaded up." The combo square was first, just like in the pitcher
I seen at the store. Then some pliers, no, two pair... three... screw
it - two sets of side-nippers, a stripper, needlenose, blunt nose and a
large pair for good measure. Next went the measuring tape, framing
hammer, three punches, 14oz hammer, 16d nails, box nails, wire nuts and
to complete the ensemble, two screwdrivers, utility knife and a yankee
#41 pushdrill. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaahooooo. Another swagger out on the
runway to show off to soccer-mom-in-training and the effect was
complete. If she weren't already a girl in trouble, there would have
been rumbling in the hood.
What a concept. No hunting for all my shit! No more putting something
on a ledge somewhere and forgetting where the hell it is. Ah, the
sweet, sure, secure pleasure of slapping the wire stripper back in its
pouch, like a gunfighter returning his trusty Colt 44 to its holster,
feeling the quiet *snick*
as the cool metal finds its home in the
refined leather. So what that the weight and additional sag added
another two inches to the alarming plumber's butt crack around back...
I can't see it, so screw 'em. Didn't matter that climbing the ladder
with 20lbs of gear made it creak under more than the usual tonnage. I
I quietly spent a most satisfying two hours wiring-up some single pole
switches (light switches, for those of you who don't have tool belts)
and getting ready to finish up the electrical in preparation for
insulation and then sheetrocking before the launch window closes... all
because of a tool belt. I hung it up on a nail, everything still
tucked away, ready for use at my next whim... my mobile, custom
wrap-around toolbox. It hung there smartly. It was, well...
well-hung. I'm likin' that.